Chris Froome (Sky) moved up to eighth in the Tour de Romandie’s general classification on Thursday after placing 10th in the bunch sprint in Montreux.
Froome could be seen riding up the side of the road as the sprinters fought it out for the stage victory. Although it wasn’t quite the turn of speed that saw Bradley Wiggins take a sprint stage win in Romandie in 2012, it was a canny enough move to elevate Froome from 10th to eighth overall.
Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) led the peloton over the line to take his second stage win in two days, and with it relieved prologue winner Michael Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) of the overall race lead.
Thanks to stage time bonuses, Albasini now leads Kwiatkowski by five seconds overall, with Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) in third at 10 seconds. Froome is 19 seconds behind Albasini.
Friday’s stage three will be a big test for the climbers, featuring four first category climbs along its 181km route from Le Bouveret to Aigle, home of the Union Cycliste Internationale. The race concludes on Sunday, May 4, with a 18.5km time trial decider.
After his sprint today, defending champion Froome is evidently feeling good – the question remains as to whether he has fully shrugged off the illness forced him to miss Liege-Bastogne-Liege. We will find out on Friday.
Tour de Romandie 2014, stage two: Sion to Montreux, 166.5km
1. Michael Albasini (Sui) Orica-Greenedge in 4-12-22
2. Tony Hurel (Fra) Europcar
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
4. Alexey Tsatevitch (Rus) Katusha
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
6. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana
7. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
8. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
9. Danilo Wyss (Sui) BMC Racing
10. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky at same time
Overall classification after stage two
1. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica Greenedge in 6-29-50
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 5 secs
3. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp at 10 secs
4. Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar at 11 secs
5. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 12 secs
Orica-GreenEdge rider Michael Albasini wins snow-shortened opening road stage in Switzerland
Images from the opening day of the 2014 Tour of Romandie, a prologue time trial won by Michal Kwiatkowski
Tour de Romandie (April 29 to May 4) essential information: Stages, contenders, teams, TV guide, past winners and more