David Gaudu took a major win against world-class climbers on stage three of the Tour de Romandie.
The young Frenchman kept out of trouble on an unpredictable day of racing and was able to fight for victory on the final uncategorised climb to the line.
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Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) waited patiently at the head of a reduced peloton, attacking at the perfect moment 100 metres from the line, beating Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and race leader Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) into second and third respectively.
Roglič holds the race lead with a six-second advantage over Gaudu heading into the stage four summit finish.
How it happened
Stage three of the 2019 Tour de Romandie was another punchy and challenging day, over 160km starting and finishing in Romont in eastern Switzerland.
With three categorised climbs along the route, it promised to be another tough stage with general classification riders needing to stay alert to avoid being caught out.
The stage opened with a second category climb in the opening 11km, followed by a third category test 40km in.
After another 60km of rolling terrain the peloton faced another category three test, followed by more relentlessly undulating terrain.
The final 20km of the stage included the second category Villars-Brarnard (4.2km at 5.3 per cent) ascent, before the uphill run to the line punctuated by two short descents.
An early rhythm for the day was established over the opening 50km, with seven riders forming the day’s breakaway.
Prologue winner Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Merida), Kenny Elissonde (Team Ineos), Andrey Amador (Movistar), Michael Albasini (Mitchelton-Scott), Michael Storer, Lennard Kämna (Sunweb) and Roland Thalmann (Switzerland) all broke clear in the opening stages, but the tough terrain saw changes up front.
Albasini and Amador were dropped from the break inside 100km, with Astana’s Nikita Stalnov attacking and bridging across shortly after to make it six in the move.
The peloton were aware to the danger after missing out to the breakaway on stage two, and kept the escapees within two minutes.
With 20km the break were caught as the race approached the final categorised climb of the day.
EF Education First attacked on the slopes with Hugh Carthy and his team set the pace at the front of the peloton.
A reduced bunch made it over the climb, with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) launching a speculative attack that failed.
CCC Team took control at the front with race leader Roglič pinned to their wheel inside 2km.
The peloton hit the final rise to the line as Thomas moved to the front with Gaudu half-wheeling alongside.
Thomas rode at an easy pace as he waited for attacks, with Davide Villela (Astana) putting in a brief dig.
Costa then darted round against the barrier in the final few hundred metres as Gaudu went wide and opened up with enough power to break clear.
Thomas was forced to slow to avoid hitting the wheel of Michael Woods, taking him out of the fight.
Gaudu rode to victory with Costa taking second and Roglič sneaking in for third
Tour de Romandie 2019 stage three: Romont to Romont (160km)
1. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, in 3-50-53
2. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
3. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
4. Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First
5. Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, all at same time
6. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert, at 3 seconds
7. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Davide Villela (Ita) Astana
9. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto-Soudal
10. Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, all at same time
General classification after stage three
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, in 12-23-02
2. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 6s
3. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates), at 8s
4. Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 19s
5. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Ineos, at 20s
6. Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar, at 21s
7. Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 25s
8. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 27s
9. Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First, at 28s
10. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 29s