AFP / Yuzuru Sunada
Michael Albasini of Switzerland won a shortened first stage in front of his home fans on the Tour of Romandie on Wednesday. The scheduled 203km ride between Ascona and Sion was reduced to just 88 kilometers from Bigerbrad because of snow on the Simplon Pass, and Orica-Greenedge rider Albasini triumphed in a sprint after 2:11:11 ahead of Spain’s Jesus Herrada and Lithuania’s Ramunas Navardauskas. After what was the first Swiss win in the race for 10 years.
“I’m always really motivated for the Swiss races,” said Albasini. “Of course I want to show something when I’m racing at home. I’m really happy with the race today. It was a good win. It was important that I get some results out of the good shape I have now. It’s been ten years since the last Swiss rider won here, so I know the people here are also really happy about my win.”
Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland, who won the prologue in Ascona on Tuesday, retained the overall race lead but he is only five seconds ahead of Albasini. Britain’s Chris Froome, who won the Tour of Romandie last year before going on to win the Tour de France, is 10th overall, 14 seconds off the pace.
Thursday’s second stage will be 166.5km from Sion to Montreux, which is likely to finish in a sprint and so could favour Albasini once again. The six-day event concludes on Sunday.
Tour de Romandie Stage 2
1. Michael Albasini (SUI/ORI) 2:11:11
2. José Herrada Lopez (ESP/MOV) same time
3. Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU/GRM) s.t.
4. Maxim Iglinskiy (KAZ/AST) s.t.
5. Andrew Talansky (USA/GRM) s.t.
General Classification After Stage 2
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/OPQ) 2:17:33
2. Michael Albasini (SUI/ORI) @ :05
3. Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU/GRM) @ s.t.
4. José Herrada Lopez (ESP/MOV)
5. Matthias Brandle (AUT/IAM) @ :07