After crashing out of the leader's jersey on stage one, Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) sprinted to victory on stage two of the Tour de Romandie.
The 23-year-old opened his sprint with 200m to go, beating Jon Aberasturi (Trek-Segafredo) and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) to the line in a narrow finale in Échellens.
With this victory, Hayter added a second WorldTour win to his palmarès following his triumph in the race's opening time trial prologue.
Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), who was dealt a 20-second time penalty for an illegal bottle collection on stage one, dropped out of the top ten, while Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) maintained the lead of the race.
How it happened
Stage two set out on a figure-of-eight loop around the canton of Vaud, starting and finishing in Échallens. The rolling 168.2km route counted just one categorised climb - the 6.7km-long third category ascent of La Praz - which fell in the middle of the stage.
As with stage one, a small breakaway formed immediately after the neutralised rollout. The four-man group was composed of Diego López (Equipo Kern Pharma), Nils Brun (Swiss Cycling), Baptiste Planckaert (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and the Latvian road champion Toms Skujiņš (Trek-Segafredo).
The first piece of drama came when news broke that Geraint Thomas, who started the day third in the general classification, had been issued a 20-second time penalty by the race jury. The Welshman was said to have taken a bottle with 19k to go in stage one, despite rules against feeding in the final 20km.
On the road, the first 110km of racing ticked by comfortably. Jumbo-Visma took command of the peloton while the breakaway ploughed ahead through the verdant Swiss countryside.
A touching of wheels with 53km to go caused a small pile-up in the bunch, with one Lotto-Soudal rider sailing headfirst over his handlebars. Fortunately, there were no major casualties for those involved in the crash, save a few scraped elbows.
With 38km to go, the four-man breakaway halved as Planckaert and López sat up in their saddles. 18km later, the front group was no more. Skujiņš and Brun were absorbed by the bunch, and Ineos Grenadiers led the charge to the line.
The British team turned the screw on the front, stringing out the peloton in an attempt to shake off the sprinters before the finale. The pace set by Andrey Amador and Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers) proved too much for Ethan Vernon (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), who was dropped with over 10km remaining.
Israel-Premier Tech guided the pack round the final left-hand turn and onto the finishing straight.
As the group passed under the flamme rouge, Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) pulled his team-mate Hayter through to the front, and the Brit launched a vicious sprint with 200m to go. Shushing his lips over the line, Hayter sent a message to those who doubted his positioning on stage one, and took his second victory at this edition of the Tour de Romandie.
Abersaturi and Gaviria completed the podium for the stage, with Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) missing out on the bonus seconds in fourth place.
Tour de Romandie 2022, stage two: Échellens to Échellens (168.2km)
1. Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, in 4-04-55
2. Jon Aberasturi (Esp) Trek-Segafredo
3. Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Sean Quinn (USA) EF Education-EasyPost
6. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Want-Gobert Matériaux
7. Nikias Arndt (Ger) DSM
8. Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën
9. Felix Grosßchartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, all at s.t.
General classification after stage two
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Jumbo-Visma, in 9-34-43
2. Felix Grosßchartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 14s
3. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, at 18s
4. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Victorious, at 18s
5. Juan Ayuso (Esp) UAE Team Emirates, at 18s
6. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, at 18s
7. Patrick Bevin (NZl) Israel-Premier Tech, at 20s
8. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates, at 21s
9. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 23s
10. Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates, at 24s
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1