Patrick Bevin (Israel-Premier Tech) won stage three of the Tour de Romandie in a reduced bunch sprint in Valbroye.
The New Zealander, who won the Tour of Turkey earlier this month, kicked ahead of Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) and Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) to claim his second stage win of the season.
Dennis's third place on the day secured him four valuable bonus seconds on the line. The race leader will head into Saturday's queen stage with a 14-second advantage over Bevin, who rose to second on the general classification.
How it happened
Stage three set off on a meandering 165.1km route over the hills of the Broye valley, south of Lake Neuchâtel. Scattered with six category three climbs, the undulating parcours offered a total of 2700m elevation for the riders as they headed out of, and ultimately back to, Valbroye.
The day’s racing got off to an electric start that saw multiple attacks to form a breakaway nullified by the peloton. Thomas Champion (Cofidis), the wearer of the light blue mountains classification jersey, tried twice to wriggle free but was reeled back in both times.
Eventually, after the first ascent of the 4.5km-long Dompierre, a trio containing Nans Peters (AG2R Citroën), Rémi Cavagna (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Krists Neilands (Israel-Premier Tech) were able to break loose from the pack. The three riders clocked an average speed of over 45km/h in the first hour of racing, stretching out an advantage of almost five minutes.
Neilands, it transpired, hadn’t only gone up the road for a nice day out. The former Latvian champion beat his breakaway companions over the first four summits to take the lead of the mountains classification.
In the pack, Jumbo-Visma set the tempo, exchanging turns with Ineos Grenadiers, who mixed their train amongst the yellow throng of the Dutch team. With 35km to go, the gap to the escapees was reduced to less than two minutes. The trio were caught as the race hit the foot of the day’s penultimate climb.
Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) led the group up the final ascent of Sédeilles, his team-mate and race leader Dennis nestled in behind him.
With 11km remaining, the attacks began. Carlos Verona (Movistar) sprung off the front, shaking off Filippo Colombo (Swiss Cycling) who tried to go with him. Before the Spaniard could reach the summit, he was caught by Gino Mäder (Bahrain-Victorious) and Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe), and the bunch regrouped on the descent.
Back on the flat and with 3km to go, Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) tried his luck from long range. The Estonian was able to put daylight between himself and the peloton and rode solo under the flamme rouge, before he was caught by Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers), who chased in hot pursuit.
Mauro Schmid (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) took the front as the race swung round one final right-hander, but with the finish line in sight, one rider got the jump on everyone.
Coming from behind on the short drag to the line, Patrick Bevin opened up a powerful sprint to take the stage victory and ten bonus seconds. As a result, the Israel-Premier Tech rider jumped from seventh to second on the general classification ahead of Saturday's queen stage from Aigle to Zinal.
Tour de Romandie 2022, stage three: Valbroye to Valbroye (165.1km)
1. Patrick Bevin (NZl) Israel-Premier Tech, in 4-53-27
2. Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
3. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Jumbo-Visma
4. Dion Smith (Nzl) BikeExchange-Jayco
5. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
6. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious
7. Finn Fisher-Black (Nzl) UAE Team Emirates
8. Felix Grosßchartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
9. Nikias Arndt (Ger) DSM
10. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, all at s.t.
General classification after stage three
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Jumbo-Visma, in 12-28-06
2. Patrick Bevin (NZl) Israel-Premier Tech, at 14s
3. Felix Grosßchartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 18s
4. Mauro Schmid (Swi) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, at 22s
5. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Victorious, at 22s
6. Juan Ayuso (Esp) UAE Team Emirates, at 22s
7. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, at 22s
8. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates, at 25s
9. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 27s
10. Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates, at 28s
Thank you for reading 20 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