Sky rider dropped twice by peloton but finishes well placed for tomorrow's time trial final stage

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) won the Queen Stage of the Tour de Romandie earlier today, having ridden clear just under five kilometres from the finish. The Frenchman attacked a small group of favourites, bridging to a leading duo before dropping them on the final climb to Champex-Lac.

It was Pinot’s first win of the season and moves him into second place on general classification, six seconds down on Russian Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), who finished second on the stage.

As with Friday’s stage the weather was terrible. Freezing rain fell as the peloton began the penultimate climb, the Petite Forlcaz, where the two-man break was finally caught. The two escapees, Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Bryan Naulleau (Europcar) had built a lead in excess of nine minutes before the peloton began riding.

With tomorrow’s stage a 17km individual time trial, and no points on offer, Belkov’s efforts secured him both the mountain and sprint classifications.

The Petite Forclaz was a tough test. Ramps up 13 per cent, combined with relentless pressure from Astana and Movistar thinned the peloton and left Britain’s Chris Froome (Team Sky) isolated, with no team support for the final 20km.

Chris Froome was dropped twice, but remains just xx seconds off the lead (Watson)

Chris Froome was dropped twice, but remains just 14 seconds off the overall lead (Watson)

Froome, who has won the two preceding editions of the race, was seen off the back of the peloton on a number of occasions. However, in an effort reminiscent of his performance at last year’s Vuelta España, managed to claw his way back to the front, finishing seventh, 20 seconds down on Pinot.

The final saw other favourites lose time, with both Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quckstep) both finishing 23 seconds behind Froome in eighth and ninth places respectively.  Nairo Quintana (Movistar) finished with Froome but remains 40 seconds in arrears.

Froome remains third overall, only 14 seconds behind Zakarin. Providing he was not forced to dig too deep, Sunday’s time trial should provide the opportunity to win his third consecutive title in the Swiss race.

Tour de Romandie, Stage 5 Fribourg – Champex-Lac

  1. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) FDJ, 4:38:54
  2. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) Katusha, at 7sec
  3. Romain Bardet (FRA) AG2R La Mondial, at 20sec
  4. Nairo Quintana (COL) Movistar, at st
  5. Simon Spilak (SLO) Katusha, at st
  6. Rafal Majka (POL) Tinkoff-Saxo, at st
  7. Chris Froome (GBR) Team Sky, at st
  8. Rigoberto Uran (COL) Etixx- Quickstep, at 53sec
  9. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) Astana, at st
  10. Michele Scarponi (ITA) Astana, at st

General Classification

  1. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) Katusha, at 18:13:00
  2. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) FDJ, at 6sec
  3. Chris Froome (GBR) Team Sky, at 14sec
  4. Simon Spilak (SLO) Katusha, at 19sec
  5. Nairo Quintana (COL) Movistar, at 54sec
  6. Rigoberto Uran (COL) Etixx-Quickstep, at 1m1
  7. Simon Yates (GBR) Orica-GreenEdge, at st
  8. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) Astana, at 1m4
  9. Michele Scarponi (ITA) Astana, at st
  10. Yuri Trofimov (RUS) Katusha, at 1m6