Aleksandr Vlasov (BORA-hansgrohe) put in a dominant time-trial performance to win stage five of the Tour de Romandie, securing overall victory in the process.
The Russian rider backed up yesterday's second-place finish, in which his teammate Sergio Higuita won the stage, with an impressive ride over the 15.84km mountainous time-trial course.
Vlasov completed the course in a time of 33 minutes and 40 seconds, handing him the lead of the race by 50 seconds to Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious).
Simon Geschke (Cofidis) surprised many by finishing second on the stage, 31 seconds down on Vlasov, and securing the final spot on the podium in the overall standings.
Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma), who led the race at the start of the day, struggled with the steep gradients of the time-trial course and finished two minutes and 12 seconds behind Vlasov, dropping to ninth on GC.
HOW IT HAPPENED
A 15.84km time-trial with over 800m of climbing was always destined to shake up the GC standings on the final stage of the Tour de Romandie.
Leaving the start ramp in Aigle, the home of the UCI, the riders had four kilometres of flat tarmac to begin the time-trial before the climbing started.
The 11.3km climb to the finish line in Villars had an average gradient of 7.4%, with some sections ramping up to 12.7%.
Given the mountainous parcour in Romandy, time-gaps on the line were vast, and Ion Izagirre (Cofidis) was the early pacesetter, recording a time of 35 minutes and 28 seconds.
The Spaniard moved into the hot seat after averaging 26.79km/h over the course.
Neither Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) or Rémi Cavagna (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team), could trouble Izagirre’s time, both finishing over 50 seconds behind.
However, Izagirre’s time would eventually be beaten as the riders further up the standings left the start ramp.
Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), fresh from his stage win at the Tour of the Alps, took the lead briefly after recording an impressive time of 34 minutes and 47 seconds.
Setting a scintillating time at the halfway checkpoint, Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) had the lead at the finish line for only a matter of moments before Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious) swiftly edged the Dutchman out of top spot by less than a second.
Geschke was the first top-10 rider to show his intentions, with an impressive intermediate split.
The German continued his fine ride right to the line, recording a time of 34 minutes and 11 seconds, half a minute faster than Caruso.
Yet the Cofidis man was no match for Vlasov, the BORA-hansgrohe rider beating Geschke by 31 seconds in the end with a time of 33 minutes and 40 seconds.
Vlasov averaged a speed of 28.23km/h over the 15.84km course, with Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) unable to match the Russian’s powerful display on the climb to Villars.
Dennis was 28 seconds in arrears to Vlasov at the intermediate split and that gap only widened as the Jumbo-Visma leader reached the steepest ramps of the climb.
The Australian national time-trial champion eventually came in over two minutes down on the BORA-hansgrohe rider’s time – handing over the overall lead of the race as a result.
Vlasov’s win caps the end of a successful week for his team, who come away from the Tour de Romandie with the GC win and two stage victories.
TOUR DE ROMANDIE 2022, STAGE FIVE: AIGLE TO VILLARS (15.84KM)
1. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) BORA-Hansgrohe, in 33-40
2. Simon Geschke (Ger) Cofidis, at 31 seconds
3. Gino Mäder (Sui) Bahrain-Victorious, at 36secs
4. Damian Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious, at 1-04
5. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-05
6. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama FDJ, at 1-07
7. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, at 1-25
8. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates, at same time
9. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-26
10. Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team, at 1-40
FINAL GENERAL CLASSIFICATION
1. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) BORA-Hansgrohe, 18-00-59
2. Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorius, at 50secs
3. Simon Geschke (Ger) Cofidis, at 55secs
4. Juan Ayuso (Spa) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-22
5. Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team, at 1-47
6. Damian Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious, at 1-51
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-52
8. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-54
9. Luke Plapp (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers, at 2-08
10. Einer Rubio (Col) Movistar Team, at 2-13
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