Jan Tratnik takes prologue victory in Tour de Romandie 2019

A hectic course set the stage for the week-long race in Switzerland

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Jan Tratnik proved himself the most skilled on a technical course to take victory in the prologue stage at the Tour de Romandie.

The Bahrain-Merida rider bested strong competition on the opening day in Switzerland, finishing a second ahead of defending champion Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).

Tratnik takes the leader’s jersey with Roglič the best placed general classification contender in second, while Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) sits in fifth at just four seconds down.

How it happened

The prologue of the Tour de Romandie packed in a hectic route over just 3.87km, with two hair pins, two 90-degree right turns, a sharp climb, a cobbled climb and a chicane.

Bike handling and power were essential in this opening test around the city of Neuchâtel in western Switzerland.

Newly crowned Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts was favourite for the stage, but the Lotto-Soudal rider crashed on a left-hand turn and finished well outside the provisional best times.

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After Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) set an early marker of 5-11, it was up to German national time trial champion Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) to utilise his years of experience against the clock.

Martin delivered and took the lead with a time of 5-10, but with his team-mates Jos van Emden, Primož Roglič and Steven Kruijswijk still to ride it looked like the race could pass to someone in the same strip.

Van Emden was unable to topple Martin as the number of contenders capable of the win began to dwindle.



But it was Swiss rider Tom Bohli (UAE Team Emirates) who put in a blistering ride to take three seconds out of Martin and top the leaderboard with a time of 5-07.

Bohli was denied however as defending Romandie champion Roglič proved his consistent strength in a time trial, taking the hot seat with less than a second to spare.

Slovenian time trial champion Jan Tratnk (Bahrain-Merida) was the next man to take control, knocking a second off Roglič’s time with a 5-06.

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Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas was the penultimate rider to set off, and he looked to be returning to form as he finished four seconds outside the time of Tratnik.

Kruijswijk was the last man to cross the line but was no threat the to the top-10, securing victory for Tratnik.

Results

Tour de Romandie 2019 prologue: Neuchâtel to Neuchâtel (3.87km)

1. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida, in 5-06
2. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, at 1 second
3. Tom Bohli (Sui) UAE Team Emirates, at same time
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Jumbo-Visma, at 4s
5. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Ineos
6. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin, all at same time
7. Stefan Küng (Sui) Groupama-FDJ, at 5s
8. Carol Betancur (Col) Movistar
9. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates, all at same time

General classification after stage one

1. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida, in 5-06
2. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, at 1 second
3. Tom Bohli (Sui) UAE Team Emirates, at same time
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Jumbo-Visma, at 4s
5. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Ineos
6. Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin, all at same time
7. Stefan Küng (Sui) Groupama-FDJ, at 5s
8. Carol Betancur (Col) Movistar
9. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates, all at same time