Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo) finished safely in the bunch on the final stage of the Tour de Romandie to confirm his overall victory as Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) sprinted to the stage win.
Roglič went into the final stage, a slightly lumpy 182km stage from Mont-sur-Rolle to Geneva with an eight-second lead over Egan Bernal (Team Sky), and looked comfortable as he stayed out of trouble throughout the day to win his seconds stage race in succession after triumphing at the Tour of the Basque Country earlier in April.
Meanwhile the stage belonged to German sprinter Pascal Ackermann, who sat tight and benefited from the work of other teams including Team Sky and Bahrain-Merida, who managed to make a mess of trying to set up Sonny Colbrelli, as Ackermann surged clear in the final 200m to take the victory.
How it happened
The final stage of the 2018 Tour de Romandie saw a tight race at the top of the general classification, with Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo) leading by just eight seconds ahead of Egan Bernal (Team Sky), but with the three classified climbs packed into the first half of the 182km stage, there would be little opportunity for Bernal to make up the deficit.
However there was another Team Sky who was able to get up the road with Pavel Sivakov joining Winner Anacona (Movistar), Carlos Verona (Mitchelton-Scott), Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r La Mondiale), and Michael Storer (Team Sunweb) to form the day’s breakaway.
Those five riders steadily ticked off the lumpy first half of the stage with Sivakov taking the points at the top of each climb, but with the breakaway never enjoying a lead of much more than two minutes over a peloton patrolled by LottoNL-Jumbo and the sprinters’ teams spying a rare opportunity in this mountainous race.
By the time they reached the rolling run across the north of Lake Geneva with 50km to go, the breakaway’s lead was down to just a minute, with the five riders even in sight of the bunch on some of the longer straighter sections of road.
Steadily the gap edged down further as the bunch timed their catch to perfection, eventually sweeping up the break with just 11km remaining as they made their way through the outskirts of Geneva.
However after the sprinters’ teams found themselves thwarted by a Thomas De Gendt breakaway on stage two, they briefly looked in danger of missing out again as William Clarke (EF Education-First Drapac) launched a solo move with nine kilometres to go.
Clarke’s attack was a powerful one and the Australian was able to open a gap of a few hundred metres, before Bora-Hansgrohe decided that enough was enough and hit the front hard to bring him back with five kilometres remaining.
Team Sky were also prominent through the final kilometres as Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe worked hard to keep Bernal out of trouble, before Bahrain-Merida led under the flamme rouge with Sonny Colbrelli sitting comfortably in second wheel.
From there it looked like the Italian’s to lose, but lose it he did as a futile attack by Tom Bohli (BMC Racing) opened the door on the left-hand side of the road, before Ackermann powered to the front round the final right-hand bend to take the win.
Meanwhile all the GC contenders finished safely in the pack, meaning that Roglič could celebrate overall victory ahead of Bernal, with Richie Porte (BMC Racing) in third.
Tour de Romandie 2018, stage five: Mont sur Rolle to Geneva, 182km
1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, in 4-09-51
2. Michael Morkov (Den) Quick-Step Floors
3. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
4. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
5. Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
7. Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Michael Albasini (Sui) Mitchelton-Scott
10. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale, all at same time
Final general classification
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo, in 17-09-00 17:09:00
2. Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky, at 8 secs
3. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing, at 35 secs
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, at 1-16
5. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-23
6. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 2-32
7. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing, at 2-49
8. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale, at same time
9. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 3-09
10. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates, at 3-12