Sagan sprints to race lead in Romandie stage one
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sagan sprints to race lead in Romandie stage one

by Ben Atkins at 11:56 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Romandie

peter saganPeter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo) won the first stage of the Tour de Romandie between Porrentruy and Fleurier in a bunch sprint. The 20-year-old Slovakian beat Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and Nicolas Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale) into second and third at the end of a rolling 175.6km stage that saw a number of the favourites dropped.

A breakaway group of three, made up of Thibaut Pinot (Française des Jeux), Andrey Zeits (Astana) and Chad Beyer (BMC Racing), escaped after 11km. Zeits was the best placed in the overall classification, 20 seconds behind Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia); it didn’t take long for him to become the leader on the road as the gap rose to more than nine minutes after 36km.

Pinotti’s HTC-Columbia team began to up the pace as it decided that it was time to reel the break in; by the feed zone at 88.9km, the stage’s mid point, the trio’s lead had been cut to just seven minutes. With the Liquigas team coming forward to help, the lead was further cut to 4’50” by the second of the days intermediate sprints as the break approached the finish line in Fleurier and the 51.7km finishing circuit.

On the unclassified climb of the Côte-aux-Fées, on the approach to the second category Mont de Buttes, Beyer was unable to follow the other two riders and they continued without him. As the peloton hit the climb Fabio Felline (Footon-Servetto) jumped away in an attempt to bridge to the leaders. His move was unsuccessful but heralded a number of attacks that shattered the main field. Charly Wegelius (OmegaPharma-Lotto) was one of the main protagonists and crossed the top of the climb alone in pursuit of the leaders.

Sprinters Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) and Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step) were among the riders dropped by the peloton as it broke up on the climb. Neither would see the front group again and they finished in a group several minutes behind the stage winner.

Pinot also managed to drop Zeits on the rolling roads after the climb and with Wegelius giving up his solo chase the 19-year-old Frenchman was alone with less than 30km to go. With Pinot almost in sight of the Lampre and Liquigas led peloton Jan Bakelants (OmegaPharma-Lotto) leapt ahead to catch and pass the Frenchman as he faded back to the peloton; but with just a few hundred metres lead and around 15km left to ride, the Belgian’s move was doomed to fail and he was caught with 10km to go.

In the final few kilometres the Garmin-Transitions team moved forward to set up Robbie Hunter, followed by the Milram team and OmegaPharma-Lotto. It was the 20-year-old Slovakian Sagan who was fastest though, taking the win ahead of Gavazzi and Roche.

After finishing second in yesterday’s prologue, just one second behind Pinotti, Sagan also takes the overall race lead.

Result stage 1
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Doimo
2. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
3. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R-La Mondiale
4. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Team Astana
5. Fabio Felline (Ita) Footon-Servetto
6. Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin-Transitions
7. Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Transitions
8. Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo Bank
9. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky
10. Stefan Denifl (Aut) Cervélo TestTeam

Standings after stage 1
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Doimo


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