Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) won the overall of the 2015 Tour de Romandie, finishing third in a drizzly time-trial stage won by Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick-Step).
Chris Froome (Sky) again seemed to be somewhat off his best form, and could only manage the 13th fastest time to consolidate his third place overall behind Zakarin and his Katusha teammate Simon Spilak.
Despite wearing a determined expression on the start ramp, the defending champion failed to mount a serious challenge to Zakarin’s leadership, finding himself 26 seconds off Martin’s pace at the intermediate sprint and 34 seconds at the finish.
Zakarin’s victory is one the most surprising of the season. Having been relatively anonymous for years, the Russian rose to prominence with some eye-catching rides at the Tour of the Basque Country, but no-one would have predicted the all-round display of dominance he has displayed this week.
Zakarin even managed to win despite suffering a mechanical just moments after setting the second fastest time at the intermediate sprint. The incident will have cost him a few seconds, but he remained calm and rebuilt momentum, managing to secure a buffer of eleven over his teammate Spialk.
Spilak himself was second on the stage, and therefore leaps ahead of Froome and yesterday’s winner Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) who slips off the podium after only managing 20th on the stage. This makes it three runners up finishes in a row at the Tour de Romandie for Spilak.
Other notable performances were Simon Yates’ (Orica-GreenEdge) twelfth place finish, which sees him rise to sixth overall, climbing above Nairo Quintana who finished surprisingly low 22nd.
Given his impressive recent form in road stages, it seemed inevitable that Martin would win upon returning to his favourite discipline, time-trialing. Crossing the line he put a whopping twenty seconds into the then-leader Rohan Dennis (BMC), posting a time of 23-17 that no-one managed to get within even ten seconds of.
Among the riders to have held the fastest time earlier in the day were Anton Vorobyev (Katusha), Joss Van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) and stage four winner Stefan Kung (BMC).
Tour de Romandie, Stage 6 Lausanne-Lausanne ITT
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx-Quick Step in 23:17
2. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha, at 11sec
3. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha, at 13sec
4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Soudal at 19sec
5. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC at 22sec
6. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r at 24sec
7. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar at 25sec
8. Stef Clement (Ned) IAM Cycling at 26sec
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 28sec
10. Steve Morabito (Swi) FDJ at 31sec
1. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha, in 18:36:30
2. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha, at 17sec
3. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 35sec
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, at 49sec
5. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx-Quickstep, at 1m20
6. Simon Yates (GBR) Orica-GreenEdge, at 1min21
7. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1min24
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, at 1min42
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r at 1min43
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, at 1m54