Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Victorious) won the first road stage of the Tour de Romandie in a punchy uphill finale.
The Belgian rounded Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) on the line to take his second victory of the season after winning Flèche Wallonne last week.
Dennis, who also finished second in Tuesday's prologue time trial, took a six-second time bonus on the line and moved into the leader's jersey previously held by Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers), who crashed with 14km to go.
How it happened
The second day of the Tour de Romandie offered a sawtooth stage profile, punctuated by sharp ascents. The 178km route headed south along the banks of Lake Neuchâtel before turning east to take on four category three climbs. A hilltop finish, tackled three times as part of a circuit, then awaited the peloton in the medieval city of Romont.
Local rider Valère Thiébaud (Swiss Cycling), the only person to crash in yesterday’s prologue, was determined to get into the breakaway at the start of the day. From the flag drop, he joined forces with Antoine Debons (Swiss Cycling), Julius Johansen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Thomas Champion (Cofidis) and Tim Naberman (DSM), who established an advantage of more than three minutes over the main bunch.
Riding for the race leader Hayter, Ineos Grenadiers took charge of the peloton and kept the five escapees at an arm’s length. Hayter’s team-mates reduced the gap to two and a half minutes before the day’s second categorised climb.
Up ahead, Champion took maximum points over the first two climbs. The Frenchman placed second over the line on the third ascent, which was enough to secure him the light blue mountains classification jersey for stage two.
The pace in the peloton ramped up as the race entered the final 45km, and the front group’s advantage was sliced to less than a minute. Debons, sensing the breakaway’s demise was imminent, kicked down on the pedals, taking Champion up the road with him.
The Swiss rider’s efforts, however, were in vain. The duo were reeled in with 29km to go.
With 14km remaining, a crash wiped out the back half of the peloton. Hayter, who had spent most of the day sheltered behind the bunch, ended up lying in the grass at the side of the road. The Brit slowly rose to his feet, but by the time he remounted his bike, the race had disappeared into the distance.
Time trial specialist Rémi Cavagna (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) tried his luck inside the final 6km and stretched out a small gap over the reduced peloton. Moments later, the French road champion was swallowed up as the pack reached the foot of the winding road up to Romont.
Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) was the first to attack on the climb – a 1.2km drag pitched at an average of seven per cent. Quick to react, Dennis stuck to the American's wheel and countered, distancing his rivals as he powered uphill.
As the Jumbo-Visma rider came over the brow of the climb, finish line in sight, he was helpless to the onrushing Teuns. The Belgian flew round his right shoulder to snatch glory on the line and claim his second victory in the space of a week.
Tour de Romandie 2022, stage one: La Grande Béroche to Romont (178km)
1. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Victorious, in 4-23-58
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Jumbo-Visma, s.t.
3. Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates, at 2s
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 2s
5. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, at 2s
6. Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citrëon, at 4s
7. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious
8. Juan Ayuso (Esp) UAE Team Emirates
9. Stess Cras (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
10. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, all at s.t.
General classification after stage one
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Jumbo-Visma, in 4-29-48
2. Felix Grosßchartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 16s
3. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, s.t.
4. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Victorious, at 18s
5. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, at 20s
6. Juan Ayuso (Esp) UAE Team Emirates, at 20s
7. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, at 20s
8. Patrick Bevin (NZl) Israel-Premier Tech, at 22s
9. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 23s
10. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates at 23s
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