Bradley Wiggins (Sky) was the surprise winner of this afternoon’s Tour de Romandie stage one in La Chaux-de-Fonds after a frantic day which saw overnight leader Geraint Thomas and Mark Cavendish dropped.
Wiggins had been off the back himself earlier in the stage having seemingly suffered mechanical problems, but the efforts of Sky team-mates Michael Rogers and Kanstantsin Siutsou paced him back up to the peloton.
Having marked other riders’ attempts to break clear in the closing stages, he stayed at the front of the bunch and hit out some 300 metres from the line and held on comfortably to take one of his most impressive – and unexpected – wins to date.
With Thomas off the back and the time bonus for winning the stage, Wiggins moves into the race leader’s yellow jersey with another team-mate – Rogers – in second at 7 seconds. Dutchman Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) is third at 9 seconds.
“I had a lot of adrenaline after I punctured with 25k to go,” Wiggins said after the victory. “When that happened the boys dropped back for me and did a fantastic job.
“Then in the final I was kind of on my own and marshalling everything and I just wanted to pay them back for everything they’d done, they were incredible. I’ve got them to thank and it was really nice to be able to finish it off like that.”
Not known for his sprinting, Wiggins was in slightly unknown territory in the finale: “I went a bit early and had to sit down to rest for a bit and then went again but it was good to get the win!” he said.
“I want to win Romandie, that’s for sure. I’ll take what I can every day and it’s really nice to win a sprint like this because normally I only ever really win time trials.”
Tour de Romandie stage one: Morges to La Chaux-de-Fonds, 184.5km
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky in 4-50-23
2. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
3. Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana
4. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing
5. Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale
6. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar
7. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
8. Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre-ISD
9. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Barracuda
10. Pieter Weening (Ned) GreenEdge all at st
General classification after stage one
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky
2. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Sky at 7 secs
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 9 secs
4. Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank at 9 secs
5. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Barracuda at 11 secs
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank at 11 secs
7. David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Barracuda at 12 secs
8. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 12 secs
9. Ruben Plaza (Spa) Movistar at 12 secs
10. Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Nissan at 13 secs
Mark Cavendish falls behind on the Haut de la Côte climb
Daniel Navarro attacks
Bradley Wiggins takes the bunch sprint
Bradley Wiggins moves into the race lead
Andrew Talansky is top young rider
Tour de Romandie 2012: Related links
Tour de Romandie 2012: Photos