Riche Porte looks in great form
The Tour de Romandie start list may not have been packed with big name general classification, but that shouldn’t take anything away from Richie Porte‘s superb ride on stage four, setting himself up to win the race the following day.
Eventually taking second on the stage behind Simon Yates, Porte didn’t even seem to attack, simply riding off the front of the peloton with no one able to follow.
Pedalling smoothly out of the saddle and barely sitting down for the duration of the six kilometre final climb in what was a powerful display that will strike fear into other Tour de France contenders.
Chris Froome not looking quite so sharp
Meanwhile, at the back of the peloton, the man who should be Porte’s main rival in July looked in less than stellar shape.
Chris Froome had already been fairly anonymous for much of the final climb on stage one (eventually emerging to take a surprise fifth in the sprint finish), but was dropped pretty much as soon as the road started to ramp upwards toward Leysin.
For a moment it looked as if Froome might be pacing himself, constantly glancing down at his power meter as the peloton went into the climb as if it was a sprint finish, but he slowly slipped further back, eventually finishing in 33rd place more than a minute behind Porte and Yates.
Froome said before the race that his lack of wins so far this season wouldn’t dent his confidence heading towards July, but surely he’d prefer to be in Porte’s position than finishing out the back.
Simon Yates is turning into a force to be reckoned with
If you were ignore results in previous years, then you could think that it was Simon Yates rather than Chris Froome who was Britain’s premier Tour de France contender.
The 24-year-old was superb on the final stage to Leysin, riding hard in the break all day before having enough strength to latch on to Richie Porte as he came flying past on the final climb.
From that position, he probably could have been happy with second place and the race lead, but Yates played the situation well, putting the odd turn to help the duo open a sizeable lead, before sitting on Porte’s wheel through the final kilometre, only jumping into the wind in the final 100 metres to win the stage.
In the end it wasn’t enough to win the race overall as he lost time on the final stage, but bearing in mind that he only finished two seconds behind Froome in the final time trial, Yates will still be very happy with his race.
Team Sky might miss Viviani at the Giro
With Froome finishing in 18th place overall, and only one other rider in the top 70 overall (meaning they finished second from bottom in the team classification), Team Sky won’t be too happy with the Tour de Romandie, and yet there was at least a ray of sunshine with Elia Viviani’s stage win in Payerne on stage three.
That could show why the team may be a little foolish in not finding a place for Viviani in their Giro d’Italia squad.
Clearly Sky are going to the Giro with a squad entirely devoted to their co-leaders, Geraint Thomas and Mikel Landa, but if both of those fall short, the team may regret not having Viviani on hand to pick up a stage win or two.
It’s not always fun being a bike rider
For lots of people, professional cycling consists of three weeks of pedalling through fields of sunflowers under sunny skies each July.
But the Tour de Romandie showed a side of the sport that the casual fan will not see so often, with the peloton having to deal with some brutal conditions over the course of the race.
The prologue time trial was contested under heavy rain, while snow hit both of the opening road stages with stage two even having to be shortened as temperatures struggled to climb above freezing at the start line.
Quite frankly there will be a lot of riders who will be glad the race is behind them.