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Tour de Romandie 2019: Stage 2

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Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 2 from Le Locle to Morges.

Tour de Romandie 2019 race hub

Tratnik wins Tour de Romandie prologue

Tour de Romandie: Roglic wins stage 1

 

 

As the CN blimp takes height through the rain ands grey clouds of Switzerland, we have a first attack of the stage. 

The early kilometres are on a plateau, before a drop down to Lake Neuchatel, a mind-stage climb and two laps of a hilly circuit around Morges. 

 

As soon as the flag dropped the attacks came thick and fast, with a breakaway of six riders forming after 7km of racing.

 

 

 

The attackers are Geminas Bagdonas (AG2R), Stefan Küng (Groupama), Jorge Arcas (Movistar), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Gobert), Nathan Brown (EF) and Claudio Imhof (Swiss Team).

 

154km remaining from 174km

They have pushed their lead out to 1:20 as the peloton tries to stay warm and safe in the rain.

 

150km remaining from 174km

The peloton has let the break go and eased up. their gap is up to 3:50.

 

148km remaining from 174km

After Primoz Roglic won stage 1 yesterday, his Jumbo-Visma team is obliged to lead the chase at the front of the peloton. 

 

To read about Roglic's stage win and strong finishing sprint, click here.

 

  

 

Roglic and Jumbo-Visma are on impressive form this season, winning the UAE Tour and Tirreno-Adriatico. 

The Dutch-based team lost Robert Gesink to a recent crash but he has been replaced by the USA's Sep Kuss. 

 

 

142km remaining from 174km

The roads are still wet as the riders descent to the lake shore. It's classic Romandie weather today.

 

We"re just nine days from the start of the Giro d'Italia and after yesterday's Essential Guide kicked off our special countdown features, today we have an exclusive interview with Primoz Roglic by Alasdair Fotheringham, done during a recent altitude camp in Spain's Sierra Nevada.

Click here to read the full feature. 

 

 

 

 

136km remaining from 174km

The break of six have taken advantage of the descent to push their lead out to 5:00.

 

To keep track on the riders in the break and their time gap, check out the situation panel on the right or below the updates.  

It's another busy day of racing in the cycling world, with the opening stage of the Tour de Yorkshire also underway. 

We'll have a full report and photo gallery of all the action plus exclusive news, interviews and analysis from Editor Daniel Benson and special guest Philippa York.   

 

 

As you may have seen, Team Sky became Team Ineos for the start of the Tour de Romandie and Chris Froome showed off the team's new colours.

 

Click here to read more about the presentation and follow the links to all our coverage on Team Ineos.

 

 

 

127km remaining from 174km

It's still wet in Romandie, with temperatures of 10C.  

 

Despite the profile of the stage, the day is expected to suit the sprinters, with Elia Viviani and Sam Bennett the likely contenders.  

 

One sprinter that will not fight for victory today, is  Jakub Mareczko of CCC Team. He struggled on the climbs of stage 1.  

 

122km remaining from 174km

After close to 60km of racing, the peloton has upped their speed and began to close the gap. 

The gap is down to 3:15.   

 

115km remaining from 174km

Fortunately for the riders out on the road, the rain has stopped. But it is still wise to keep on capes and warm clothes. 

 

The riders will soon reach the feed zone at the 80km point. They will then climb the Col du Mollendruz - it is close to 20km long.  

 

Team Ineos showed off their new Burgundy and black on Wednesday but Geraint Thomas and his teammates are racing in black kit, very similar to Team Sky colours to avoid confusion in the peloton. 

 

Click here to read about Team Sky transitioned into Team Ineos. 

 

 

100km remaining from 174km

There 100km left to race on the roads of Switzerland. The break remains at 3:15. 

 

We have some more precise info on the climb the riders are about to face. The Col du Mollendruz is actually 14.6km long, with an average gradient of 3.5% but with a maximum of 8.0% in places.

It will be a real test for the sprinters and will surely shake up the racing today.  

 

93km remaining from 174km

Jorge Arcas (Movistar), Frederik Backaert (Wanty Groupe Gobert), Gediminas Bagdonas (AG2r La Mondiale), Nathan Brown (EF Education First), Claudio Imhof (Suisse) and local hero Stefan Kung (Groupama FDJ) grab their late lunch quickly in the feed zone as they try to defend their lead of 3:15. 

 

81km remaining from 174km

The Col du Mollendruz is a 2nd category climb but it will hurt, especially the six riders in the break.

 

76km remaining from 174km

As the peloton hit the climb, Jumbo-Visma is still on the front, riding 'tempo' to control the six attackers. The gap is up to 3:40 now.  

 

The Tour de Romandie is one of the final races before this year's Giro d'Italia and is a key race for team selections. 

Team Sunweb have named their final eight, with Tom Dumoulin as team leader, with Sam Oomen as his key super domestique and solid support from the USA's Chad Haga, Australia's Chris Hamilton, Jai Hindley and Robert Power, Sam Oomen and Louis Vervaeke.

Click here for the full story. 

 

 

This shot shows the attackers as they started the climb.

 

 

Fortunately the clouds are rising and the roads are drying out. The riders will be happy. 

 

63km remaining from 174km

The Bora-Hansgrohe team is now helping with the chase of the break after the climb. They're riding for Sam Bennett.   

 

58km remaining from 174km

The speed is up now, with riders in the peloton tucked low over their bars. But the rain is back.

 

The chase is on, with Deceuninck also sending a rider to the front to help with the chase.

 

54km remaining from 174km

Despite the changing conditions, riders are taking off their capes and preparing for the first finale.

 

It's going to be a fast final 50km as the sprint teams try to chase down a strong breakaway.   

 

50km remaining from 174km

With 50km to go, the six attackers still lead by 3:20. 

 

With strong rouleur like Stefan Kung in the move, they surely put up a strong fight and make the sprinters fight for victory.     

 

40km remaining from 174km

The six are working smoothly as they pass through the finish area with 40km to go. 

They lead by 2:35.

 

Eros Capecchi is doing a big turn on the front of the peloton behind, working for Viviani.  

 

Kung drops back to the Groupama team car and leaves his cape.

He is surely discussing when to launch his final time trial attack. 

 

This is a screen grab of the break working together.

 

 

And this is the peloton chasing hard. 

 

 

34km remaining from 174km

The break's lead has dropped to 2:00, the six seem to have lost speed and conviction. 

 

33km remaining from 174km

Some of the six are missing turns and so the speed has dropped.They are perhaps tired but are blowing any chance of staying away. 

 

31km remaining from 174km

The break is on the short but 8.5% Reverolle climb and a strong turn by Kung has shaken out the group.   

 

Left up front are Kung, Bagdonas, and Backaert. 

 

Kung leads over the top. The break now faces a fast, mostly downhill 30km.   

 

28km remaining from 174km

The rain is back and this could help the breakaway stay away.

 

The UAE team is also helping with the chase at the head of the peloton but there is a lot of hard work to do to catch the break.   

 

Arcas, Brown and Imhof are about 30 seconds behind Kung, Bagdonas and Backaert now. Their chance of success has surely gone.  

 

25km remaining from 174km

On a sharp turn a Sunweb rider finishes in the grass. 

 

21km remaining from 174km

It is raining hard as the peloton weaves through a village on tight roads. 

 

Gediminas Bagdonas (AG2R La Mondiale) missed some turns but is now working hard now. 

 

The trio up front are trying to break the resolve of the peloton.

 

It's a day for the hard men out there today.

 

 

19km remaining from 174km

As expected, Kung has attacked! 

 

He's trying to time trial to the finish but Backaert is still on his wheel.

 

Boom! Backaert cracks and so Kung goes all in. It's him versus the peloton now. 

 

He has a 1:15 lead with 18km to go. He loves a pursuit but this is a tough one.

 

15km remaining from 174km

Kung takes a risk on a wet corner but he's actually gaining time on the peloton. 

 

The Groupama team took this screen grab of their man up front. 

 

 

13km remaining from 174km

A Bora rider is still leading the chase but the peloton seems to be losing enthusiasm and speed and their chances of catching Kung.

 

Kung's palmares is packed with TT wins but he's also won two Romandie stages in 2015 and 2017.

 

He won both stages with superb solo attacks.

 

9km remaining from 174km

Kung spent four seasons at BMC but opted to move to Groupama for 2019. He was he French team's leader for the Cobbled Classics but his best result was 11th at Paris-Roubaix.

 

Kung is a former world pursuit champion (2015) and is putting out superb pacing here. 

 

Like the legendary Jacques Anquetil, you easily balance a glass of champagne on his back.  

 

5km remaining from 174km

He is tucked in the drops, blasting down the middle of the road, using the white line as a guide.

 

3km remaining from 174km

Kung still leads by 1:20 as he heads to the finish.

 

The peloton has eased up and thrown in the towel.   

 

1km remaining from 174km

Kung is 4:51 down on the GC and so not a threat to Roglic's lead but he's the hero of the day.

 

Kung enters the final km. He knows he's gong to win now. 

 

He waves to some of his fans as he heads to the finish. 

 

As he hits the finish in Morges, Kung beats his chest, bows kisses to the crowd and celebrates in style.

 

Bravo!

 

The sprint behind is for second place. 

 

Bennett takes it, beating Colbrelli  but they regret not fighting for the win.

 

Kung has fought back from nasty injuries and so rightly celebrates his success.

 

This is the moment Kung won in Morges. He enjoyed the moment. 

 

 

The sprinters had to bow their heads to the Swiss rider as he stole the limelight.

 

Kung is the big cheese of the day and will get a big chunk of Swiss cheese on the podium thanks to the race sponsors. 

 

Kung gets a big cheer from the crowd who enjoy a Swiss win as he collects the flowers.  

 

Roglic keeps the leader's yellow jersey and also gets the flowers on the podium. He also gets a chunk of cheese. 

 

Roglic still leads Rui Costa (UAE) by 10 seconds, with Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) fourth at 13 seconds.

 

This is the top ten for the stage.

 

1 Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ 4:10:59
2 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:59
3 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
4 Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5 Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
6 Patrick Bevin (NZl) CCC Team
7 Michael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-Scott
8 Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin
9 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension Data
10 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Gobert Cycling

 

This is the new general classification after stage 2.

 

        
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 8:32:13
2 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:10
3 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:12
4 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Ineos 0:00:13
5 Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:14
6 Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:15
7 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:17
8 James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:18
9 Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
10 Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:19

 

Stefan Kung was happy to talk about his stage victory. It was his third after winning stages in 2015 and 0217.

 

"I really like the Tour de Romandie, It's a hime race in Switzerland and have enjoyed some beautiful moments in the past," he said.

 

"I had a look at the stage profiles and realised this was a good day for me. I knew that if I had a minute with 20km to go, then I'd have a chance. Of course, you've got to get in the right break and then to be able to drop the other guys, have the legs and hold off the peloton, so it's complicated. But I pulled it off and it's a great win for me.  

 

The sprinters' teams can only head to their hotels and reflect on a missed-chance. Their DS will no doubt frown as they ask them what happened. 

 

The biggest mistake was arguably letting a strong rider like Kung go in a break of six strong riders on a hilly day in the rain. 

 

It was a ever changing weather at the Tour de Romandie as our photographer Bettini saw.   

There was lots of rain.

    

 

There were also some stunning views across the Swiss countryside.

 

 

We'll have an ever-bigger photo gallery with our full stage report. 

 

Click here to read all about the stage and see the photo gallery.

 

We'll have more live coverage from the Tour de Romandie on Friday for stage 3. 

 

We'll sign off with this shot of Stefan Kung winning alone. He outfoxed the sprinters today with a classy and powerful performance.

 

 

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