Albasini Takes Third Stage Win of Tour de Romandie
Michael Albasini (GreenEdge Team) has won his third stage of the Tour de Romandie. Albasini, who led the race for a day, took a three-up sprint after a daylong break to win the rolling, 174-km circuit race in and around Fribourg in 4:14:21. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) finished second and third, respectively. Simon Spilak (Katusha) remains the overall leader.
As was the case in Stage 3, rain greeted the riders at the start. At 15 km, Albasini, Voeckler, Bakelants, Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r-La Mondiale), and Jean-Marc Marino (Cannondale) got clear. The quintet’s lead maxed out at six minutes.
With 80 km left, the bunch, led by Lampre-Merida and Trek, began to chase seriously. With 29 km remaining, the escapees’ advantage was down to three minutes. The gap had narrowed to 1:20 with 12 km to go. Two km later, Bakelants attacked and took Voeckler and Albasini with him.
A late crash took down Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek), and Danilo Wyss and Peter Velits (both from BMC Racing Team) and disrupted the pursuit. With three km remaining, the break led the bunch by 0:45. Giant-Shimano and Astana led the chase.
Inside the one-km banner, Bakelants attacked. Albasini shut down the move and was in front with 500 m left. With 300 m remaining, the Swiss started sprinting from the front. He held off Voeckler and Bakelants for the win. Nine seconds later, the peloton sped across the finish line.
Albasini attributed the break’s success to cooperation. “Everybody was working really well together,” he said. “We worked out how we were going to ride and everybody committed to the breakaway. We had to keep it going because we knew it could be quite close at the end.”
Orica-GreenEdge directeur sportif Neil Stephens agreed with his rider. “That was a group of good bike riders,” Stephens stated. “I was confident they were gauging their efforts. We knew they [the peloton] would pick up the chase at the end, and they saved some of their energy for a final push to the line.”
In the overall, Spilak leads Chris Froome (Sky) by 0:01 and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) by 1:02. One stage remains, tomorrow’s 18.5-km individual time trial in Neuchatel. As the best time trialist among the GC contenders, Froome seems poised to seize overall victory. Will he do it? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!