Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 3 of the Tour de Romandie.
As the Cyclingnews blimp takes height, it's a rainy in Switzerland and stage is underway.
We have an early break of 15 riders.
But the fast moving peloton has closed it down.
The stage has fast.
After a fast opening 25km, the peloton is all together.
This was the wet roll-out at the start.
#TDR2021 🇨🇭Rain jackets are the order of the day as racing gets underway here in Switzerland ☔️ pic.twitter.com/D5AkWr9TmAApril 30, 2021
This video from Movistar's drive to the start shows the rain the riders face today.
🌧️🌧️ Día muy lluvioso en nuestros dos frentes masculinos del fin de semana, también en un 🇨🇭 #TDR2021 que vive hoy su cuarto acto, con pequeñas cotas, alrededor de Estavayer. Aquí imágenes del arranque 📹🏁 Meta sobre 17.30h / 📺 @Eurosport_ES 2, @gcnespanol (15.30) pic.twitter.com/2Vwh4gTRkUApril 30, 2021
Fortunately the weather is expected to improve as the stage goes on.
Fortunately today's stage covers a circuit near Lake Neuchatel and so riders will get to se the roads they face several times.
The riders face one large loop and then three finishing circuits around Estavayer overlooking the lake.
The riders are on the climb and it has inspired an attack. Seven riders have come together.
They are Kobe Goossens, Stefan Küng, Sander Armée, Matthias Reutimann, Stefan Bissegger, Charles Quarterman and Johan Jacobs.
They are over the Surpierre climb and heading to the intermediate sprint after 44km.
The peloton has eased up, so the gap is up to 2:00. Ineos and race leader Rohan Dennis must be happy with the make-up of the break.
It will now be up to the sprinter's team to also help keep them in check.
It looks like the weather is improving.
💠 @TourDeRomandieIt was a battle for the breakaway but 7 riders have finally gone clear. The gap is out to 2’.Meanwhile the 🌧 has eased so Gorka Izagirre has dropped back to swap @GiordanaCycling layers.#TDR2021 pic.twitter.com/aqAcvcacdrApril 30, 2021
Today's stage is similar to yesterday, when Sonny Colbrelli survived on the rolling roads and then won the sprint to the line.
The finishing circuit is harder today and so that could suit the breakaway or even the GC riders in the peloton. It will also reveal if Ineos are determined to try to keep the yellow jersey into the weekend.
Click below for our full stage 2 report.
Breakaway: Kobe Goossens (Lotto Soudal), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Sander Armée (Qhubeka Assos), Matthias Reutimann ( Swiss Cycling), Stefan Bissegger (EF Education), Charles Quarterman (Trek-Segafredo) and Johan Jacobs (Movistar).
Peloton at 2:20.
There are four Swiss riders in the attack, including Kung and Bissegger. They could have the strength to go all the way and win the stage.
120km to go
The riders begin to descend from the hills back to the lake shore.
They face some flat roads before the first climb on the finishing circuit.
Each lap is 35km long.
The dry team car is definitely the best place to be today. It's 🚿🌧️☔️💦 out there at #TDR2021. pic.twitter.com/07DtyxjfQ3April 30, 2021
The weather is expected to be be tough during the weekend for the mountain stage and so the Tour de Romandie organisers have just announced that Saturday's stage will go ahead but start two hours early in the hope hitting a better window of weather.
It's wet out there.
🇨🇭 #TDR2021 On a oublié de préciser, aujourd'hui l'imperméable est fortement recommandé. Ce n'est @SabatiniFabio qui va dire le contraire ! 🌧️🌧️🏁 107 km📸 @GettySport pic.twitter.com/DINM7EQfjKApril 30, 2021
100km to go
The break of 7 riders have extended their lead to 3:00.
Bravo, Courage! The break rides through the finish area for the first time and starts the three near 35km circuit.
Le passage du groupe de tête sur la ligne d'arrivée à Estavayer-le-Lac.#TDR2021 #TDRnonstop pic.twitter.com/TbEPoPxMQLApril 30, 2021
Behind it is Ineos and their hard working domestique Eddie Dunbar who is leading the chase.
The break of 7 have extended their lead to 4:00.
The 7 are: Kobe Goossens (Lotto Soudal), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Sander Armée (Qhubeka Assos), Matthias Reutimann ( Swiss Cycling), Stefan Bissegger (EF Education), Charles Quarterman (Trek-Segafredo) and Johan Jacobs (Movistar).
The break starts the short climb of Chables, 1.8km at 6.2%.
Kobe Goossens was the first to the top of the climb.
Next up is the Les Granges climb but it is 2.5km long and goes up higher due to the race already being in the hills.
It looks like Stefan Kung is making everyone suffer in the break.
Jean-Christophe Bott @keystone_ats fait de sacrés clichés même sous la pluie ! Dur journée sur la 3ème étape du @TourDeRomandie !@stefankueng @GroupamaFDJ @maetthu_r @swisscycling #TDR2021#TDRNonStop pic.twitter.com/0uJCRMfpFiApril 30, 2021
Kobe Goossens is also first to the top of the Les Granges climb. He scores 5 points and seems to be chasing the KOM jersey.
The peloton seems to be stronger and has cut the break's lead down to 2:40.
65km to go
Ineos are still working on the front, with Filippo Ganna doing a long. his effort lines out the peloton.
🇨🇭 #TDR2021🌧️🌧️🌧️Two minutes for the break, with just over 65km left. pic.twitter.com/rBxni1fd97April 30, 2021
The race is on the flat valley roads after passing through the finish area again. There are just less than two laps to race.
The roads are awash with rain water, making for a tough day out.
Chris Froome is off the pack of the peloton in a chase group.
He has accepted he faces a long fight back to full fitness but insists he is up for the fight, despite struggling to make an impression in recent races.
Click below to read the full story.
50km to go
Kung takes off his rain jacket in a sign that he could decide to attack on the next climb.
That would be a long way out but could snap the chase of the peloton.
As the Chables climb begins, several riders are dropped from the break.
Armée and Quaterman are distanced.
The gap to the five up front isa down to 1:25 but the peloton takes the descent with care to avoid crashes.
The race hits the Les Granges climb. It is longer and harder that the Chables climb and so the break becomes just 4 riders now.
Only Kobe Goossens (Lotto Soudal), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Stefan Bissegger (EF Education) and Johan Jacobs (Movistar) are up there.
The road is narrow and wet and the peloton is just 1:00 down now.
however it will be fascinating to see who stays in the peloton and is the fastest if the race comes back together.
All eyers are on Stefan Kung. He likes racing in the rain and seems ready to go on the attack.
He also has a chance of overall victory if the expected bad weather on Saturday' forces the cancellation of the big mountain stage.
Bora-Hansgrohe is now helping Ineos with the chase at the head of the peloton.
That means Peter Sagan is in the peloton and faces his chances for the sprint.
The break passes through the finish area with 39km to go. Kung reaches into his pocket for ace food to fuel his final hour of racing and fight the cold and rain.
The peloton is 2:20 behind, seemingly in control.
🇨🇭 #TDR2021: Break is now reduced to four riders, with @johanjacbs still there with Küng (GFC), Bissegger (EFN) and Goossens (LTS).We're into the final lap around Estavayer, with two Cat-3 climbs remaining. Gap around 2'15" with 🏁 30km to go. pic.twitter.com/2iBirHxW9kApril 30, 2021
30km to go
Colbrelli is also in the chase group, so he is a threat to Sagan's hopes if the break is caught.
The Italian is another rider who likes racing in the rain.
Kung is liked a coiled spring and will surely attack on the climbs.
Bahrain are also helping with chase now. It's a pursuit match but Kung will surely try to time trial to the finish very soon.
The break is less than 5km from the first climb and the roads have started to ride.
It's good to young Welsh rider Stevie Williams riding on the front for Bahrain after a difficult pro debut hit by tendinitis.
The four riders up front are all working together to keep the gap at 1:20.
16km to go
As the Chables climb starts, the gpa is down to just 30 seconds.
The peloton and the sprinter teams have closed down the gap on the lower slopes.
Kung pushes on with Kobe Goossens but then surges away solo.
The time trial begins.
Kung has won a stage at the Romandie in every two years he rides, often in terrible wet conditions like today.
Dans l'avant-dernière montée, à la lumière des phares de moto sous une pluie toujours battante, Stefan Küng insiste, mais le peloton est malheureusement tout proche derrière. Un peloton dans lequel Jake Stewart est très bien placé aux avant-postes. #TDR2021 pic.twitter.com/qhGKmO1HenApril 30, 2021
Kung crashes !
He crashed at speed and slid along the road.
Kung touched the wet white line and lost control of his bike. He slid along and into the padded protection on a barrier.
He is not seriously injured and gets up and starts riding again. Heroic!
Grosse frayeur pour Stefan Küng qui a glissé sur la chaussée et chuté de façon spectaculaire. On est soulagés : il s'est relevé immédiatement. Pfiou... #TDR2021 pic.twitter.com/LDRFOk59TDApril 30, 2021
Only Kober Goossens (Lotto Soudal) is left out front as he starts the final climb.
He leads by 35 seconds.
obe Goossens (Lotto Soudal)
Kobe Goossens (Lotto Soudal) fights on as Kung is caught by the bunch.
He is giving everything but the peloton seems faster and stronger.
10km to go
Kobe Goossens (Lotto Soudal) is caught. Gruppo compatto.
So what happens now? More attacks or a sprint?
Wow! We could also see a change in the race lead.
Rohan Dennis has also crashed and has a big hole in his shorts. Ineos have stopped riding. Did others in the team crash?
The descent to the finish begins.
The stage winner could be the best or bravest descender.
Soler has attacked from the peloton but Porte is leading the peloton for Geraint Thomas.
Does Soler know that Saturday's stage could be cancelled or shortened?
Whatever, the GC riders are fighting for every second.
Soler is pushing on at the front. He leads by 25 seconds.
He stated the stage 27 seconds down on Dennis and so could take the lead and there are time bonuses awarded at the finish too.
3km to go on flat roads.
Soler wins the stage!
And the clock ticks. Can he take the lead too?
Magus and Peter Sagan take 2nd and 3rd in the group sprint to the line and so sweep up the time bonuses.
Soler has surely taken the race lead. We wait for confirmation of the tine gaps and the position of Rohan Dennis, who was the race leader.
This is the stage result:
1 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 3:58:35
2 Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo 0:0:22
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
4 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
5 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
6 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
7 Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Team DSM
8 Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma
9 Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
10 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
In theory he leads the race by 14 seconds.
It's an important win for Soler in the days before he leads Movistar at the Giro d'Italia.
Soler rode Tirreno-Adriatico and Catalunya but did not leave much sign of form.
Soler pointed to his mouth as he crossed the line, perhaps to silence his critics.
General classification after stage 4
1 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 12:38:40
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:0:14
3 Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers
4 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
5 Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates 0:0:16
6 Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:0:20
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:0:21
8 Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Team DSM
9 Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma
10 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:0:24
This was the gesture.
pic.twitter.com/U7GpVGKe7zApril 30, 2021
Rohan Dennis finished 45th on the stage, 1:21 down on Marc Soler after his late crash.
Soler did not explain his finish line gesture but was happy to win the stage.
"It was a very hard stage, especially with the rain and cold all during the stage," he said.
"There were a lot of attacks on the last climb. I kept mine for the key moment and it went well. It gives me confidence and morale for what’s coming up at the Giro."
He is ready to defend the yellow jersey whatever happens on Saturday due to expected bad weather. He is strong enough if the stage climbs up to 2000m or if it shortened and changed.
"Now we’ll try to defend yellow and see how far we can go," Soler said.
"It’s not a lot of time considering the Ineos riders are so strong in the time trial but we’ll give it our maximum tomorrow."
According to the Movistar team, post-race Soler dedicated his win to long-standing team doctor Jesús Hoyos, who died suddenly on Friday.
DEP Jesus! Y gracias por todo lo que nos has enseñado. 😔 https://t.co/QFXaiqp9oWApril 30, 2021
Here's Soler in the leader's yellow jersey.
Rohan Dennis addmited that he 'binned it' on the descent.
Describe your day in two words or less 🗣️Rohan: pic.twitter.com/TIwJIiaK9aApril 30, 2021
Thanks for following our full live coverage. For our full stage report, full results and photo gallery, click below.
Join us during the weekend for full coverage of the final stage of the 2021 Tour de Romandie.
Then from Saturday May 8 for daily live coverage of every stage at the Giro d'Italia.
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