Serrano Wins Stage 1 of Romandy Tour; Rast Takes Overall Lead
Ricardo Serrano (Fuji) has won Stage 1 of the Tour of Romandy. The Spaniard took a three-up sprint to win today's hilly, 87.6-km ride from Montreux to Fribourg in 2:08:35. Lars Ytting Bak (Saxo Bank) took second, and Gregory Rast (Astana) took third. Rast has taken the overall lead from prologue winner Frantisek Rabon (Columbia).
Because of snow in the mountains, the race director shortened the course from 176.2 km to 87.6 km. The shortened course eliminated the Category 1 Col de Jaun. After the peloton snuffed out Remy Di Gregorio's (Francaise des Jeux) early break, Serrano, Bak, and Rast escaped at 22 km. The trio led the bunch by 1:31 at 37 km and by 2:35 at 65 km.
The peloton chased, but not hard enough. With 16 km left, the bunch trailed the break by 1:50. With 10 km remaining, with the margin at about a minute, the leaders knew that one of them would win.
In the last km, Bak made the first move. With 400 m remaining, he was caught. The trio fought out the sprint, which Serrano won.
Rast was delighted to take the yellow jersey in front of his countrymen. "I had to work hard to stay in front as I knew that I could take over the leader's jersey," the Astana man said. "Those efforts cost me the stage win, but I am happy with this jersey. It will be difficult to keep it, but you never know."
In the overall, Rast leads Serrano by 0:05 and Bak by 0:15. Stage 2 will test Rast. The 161.5-km ride that will begin and end in La Chaux-de-Fonds will feature four categorized climbs in the second half of the stage, including the Category 1 La Tourne. Will Rast keep his jersey? If not, who will take it? For the answers to these questions and others, check in at www.roadcycling.com.