Navardauskas Takes Stage 2 of Tour de Romandie
Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) finished second, and Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) finished third. Chris Froome (Sky) remains the overall leader.
The break of the day formed at 27 km, when Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Mathias Brandle (IAM Cycling), and Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) sallied off of the front. The Sky-led peloton kept the trio on a short leash, and their lead maxed out at 4:03 at 116 km.
Gradually, the bunch reeled in the break. The lead was 2:32 with 59 km left, 2:00 with 50 km remaining, and 1:11 with 40 km to go. Then, Sky backed off and let another team take over the pacemaking. With 31 km left, the gap between the escapees was 1:29. Astana took over.
On the Category 3 ascent to Plagne, Burghardt dropped his companions. The peloton split just as it scooped up Hoogerland and Brandle. Jose Rujano (Vacansoleil-DCM) attacked and seized the lead from Burghardt, but Sky had regained control of the peloton. The bunch reeled in the Venezuelan with 25 km left.
Pierre Rolland (Europcar) countered. The Frenchman led the bunch by 20 seconds with as many km left. With 18 km remaining and Rolland's lead at 0:33, Matthias Frank (BMC) attacked from the peloton. Thibaut Pinot (Francaise des Jeux) and Robert Kiserlovski (RadioShack-Leopard) joined him. Rujano dropped back and so did Frank, but Steve Morabito (BMC) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) went after the leaders. Rolland's lead was down to a handful of seconds at the summit of the climb (173 km). The chasers caught Rolland just before being caught themselves.
Robert Gesink and Bram Tankink (both from Blanco) launched attacks, but Movistar and Sky led the peloton in shutting down these moves. Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) and Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) attacked with six km left. Cameron Wurf (Cannondale) and Alexsandr Dyachenko (Astana) joined the pair, and the quartet led the field by 0:12 with four km left. Blanco and Omega Pharma-Quick Step rallied the bunch, and the gang of four was caught with 1.6 km remaining. Astana led the peloton into the last km, and the stage came down to a sprint, which Navardauskas won with an early jump.
In the overall, Froome leads Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) by 0:06 and Kiserlovski by 0:13. Stage 3 will be a hilly, 181-km ride that will begin and end in Payerne. It will feature four categorized climbs, including two Category 3 ascents in the last 40 km. Will the peloton stay together for another sprint? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!