Tour de Romandie: Chris Froome blasts to prologue victory on Mayens de Bruson climb
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tour de Romandie: Chris Froome blasts to prologue victory on Mayens de Bruson climb

by Ben Atkins at 11:32 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Romandie
 
British race favourite takes first yellow jersey of Swiss WorldTour race

chris froomeChris Froome (Team Sky) blasted to victory in the prologue time trial of the Tour de Romandie, between Le Châble and Bruson, which finished at the top of the 3rd category climb to Mayens de Bruson. The British rider - who started last in the number one dossard in lieu of 2012 winning teammate Bradley Wiggins - completed the predominantly uphill 7.45km course in a time of 13 minutes 15 seconds, passing his minute-man Dani Moreno (Katusha) in the process. Froome’s time was six seconds quicker than previous best Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp), who had finished just five minutes before.

Robert Kiserlovski (RadioShack-Leopard) had finished just seven seconds slower than Talansky’s time, but was pushed down to third place as Froome crossed the line.

“I haven’t raced now in a stage race for a month since Criterium International,” said Froome afterwards. “I wasn’t sure how my condition would be coming into this race. Winning the prologue today is definitely a good sign and I’d like to try and defend the jersey this week the best I can. I know it’s going to be a very hard week of racing.
 
“We have a really good team here,” he continued. “Richie [Porte] who came fourth today is also sitting in a very good position. That could be really important for us over the next few days as it means we have some other cards to play with the rest of the riders here to support us. It should be a good week of racing.”

Froome succeeded teammate Geraint Thomas’ prologue victory from 2012 and, carrying the race favourite tag, looked odd on to succeed teammate Wiggins in final overall victory.
 
“We’re going to try and keep [the jersey],” Froome confirmed. “I don’t have a really big advantage on the other GC contenders here. I think the big stages will be this coming weekend. On Saturday we have a really hard mountain stage followed by a time trial on Sunday. So we have to do as much as we can there and hope that nothing bad turns against us in the race.”

An uphill course sees the climbers come out on top

Swiss rider Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling) was the first rider to start on the predominantly uphill 7.45km course, but his time of 14’31” was not likely to stay on top of the leaderboard for long. Janez Brajkovič (Astana) was to set the first quick time - starting at rider number 11 - as the Slovenian rider crossed the line in 13’45”.

Less than half an hour later though, Wilco Kelderman (Blanco) went a full 12 seconds quicker than Brajkovič, with 13’33”. This was only to last around the same time, however, as Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) posted 13’32”; the French climber was just one second quicker than Kelderman, but enough to take the lead.

Carlos Betancur (AG2R La Mondiale) went close a few minutes later, with 13’34”, and the very next rider was Kelderman’s Blanco teammate Stef Clément, who also posted 13’32”, but the former Netherlands time trial champion was a fraction of a second slower than Pinot and so he slotted into second place.

It was almost an hour before anybody else would come close to Pinot’s time, until Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) became the third rider to finish in 13’32”. The American was slightly slower than both Pinot and Clément, however, and went into provisional third place.

The next rider to come close was Moreno Moser (Cannondale), whose 13’33” put him into provisional fifth place, but a few minutes later Pinot was finally knocked out of the hot seat, having sat there for more than an hour. Rui Costa (Movistar) finished in 13’31”, just under half a second faster than Pinot, but the Portuguese rider was only in the lead for a few moments before Paris-Nice winner Richie Porte (Team Sky) went a seconds faster with 13’30”.

The Australian was in the lead for little more than a quarter of an hour before Talansky posted his 13’21”; Kiserlovski was to go close with 13’28”, but the American looked as though he may have done enough to win.

Froome was gaining on Moreno in the final kilometre, however, having set the fastest time at the intermediate checkpoint, and passed the Spanish rider with 250 metres to go. The race favourite crossed the line in 13’15” to set up the real possibility of his taking the race by leading it from start to finish.

Result prologue
1. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, 7.45km in 13’15”
2. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp @ 6s
3. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack-Leopard @ 13s
4. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky @ 15s
5. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar Team @ 16s
6. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ @ 17s
7. Stef Clément (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
9. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp
10. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling @ 18s

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