Italian Fabio Felline takes the early race lead in the 2017 Tour de Romandie as several of the general classification contenders put in a cautious performance

Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) won the short opening individual time trial prologue of the 2017 Tour de Romandie on Tuesday.

The technical 4.8-kilometre course around Aigle in Switzerland was rendered more difficult by rain – but Felline managed to power around the route in five minutes and 57 seconds.

Only one other rider went under the six-minute mark: second-placed rider and British time trial champion Alex Dowsett (Movistar). Had Dowsett not slipped slightly on one of the final corners, losing momentum, he may well have taken the victory given that he matched Felline’s time at the intermediate checkpoint. In the event, he was two seconds down.

Australian Alexander Edmondson (Orica-Scott) finished in third spot at seven seconds having set an early fast time and enjoyed a spell in the hot seat.

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Many of the general classification favourites elected to start early on in the day, perhaps mindful of the rain forecast later in the afternoon. However, the rain arrived earlier than predicted and all riders faced wet roads.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) in particular may have recalled his Tour de Romandie prologue experience in 2010 when he crashed on a corner – albeit on dry roads – and abandoned the race after the stage. Not this time, as he took a cautious ride on the technical course to finish in 78th place and 29 seconds adrift of Felline.

Fabio Felline leads Tour de Romandie after winning the prologue. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

Fellow British contender Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) fared better, finishing 25th at 18 second. Australian contender Richie Porte (BMC) was 108th, at 33 seconds.

American Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) was one of those that slid out on a wet corner, losing a handful of seconds before remounting. He still finished within a second of team-mate and nominated BMC leader Porte.

The 2017 Tour de Romandie continues with stage one on Wednesday, a 173.3km trip from Aigle to Champéry that features five categorised climbs, including a long ascent to the finish line. The race concludes on Sunday, April 30.

Result

Tour de Romandie 2017, prologue: Aigle to Aigle, 4.8km
1. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, in 5-57
2. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar, at 2 secs
3. Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Orica-Scott, at 7 secs
4. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors, at 8 secs
5. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 8 secs
6. Primož Roglič (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 9 secs
7. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky, at 10 secs
8. Tom Bohli (Sui) BMC Racing, at 10 secs
9. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ, at 11 secs
10. Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 11 secs
Other
25. Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott, at 18 secs
47. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin, at 23 secs
78. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 29 secs
108. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing, at 33 secs
133. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin, at 42 secs

General classification after prologue
1. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, in 5-57
2. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar, at 2 secs
3. Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Orica-Scott, at 7 secs
4. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors, at 8 secs
5. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 8 secs
6. Primož Roglič (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 9 secs
7. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky, at 10 secs
8. Tom Bohli (Sui) BMC Racing, at 10 secs
9. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ, at 11 secs
10. Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 11 secs