Brutt Wins Stage 1 of Romandy Tour, Takes Overall Lead
Pavel Brutt (Katusha) has won Stage 1 of the Tour of Romandy.
Pavel Brutt (Katusha) has won Stage 1 of the Tour of Romandy. The Russian surged away from two breakaway companions to win the mountainous, 172.6-km ride from Martigny to Leysin in 4:27:41. Alexander Kvachuk (Lampre-ISD) finished second at 0:56, and Bronislau Samoilau (Movistar) took third at 1:15. Brutt is the new overall leader.
The day's big break occurred just six km into the stage, when Brutt, Kvachuk, Samoilau, and Australian road champion Jack Bobridge (Garmin-Cervelo) sallied off of the front. The peloton did not lift a pedal to chase, and the quartet ran up a 13-minute lead by 25 km.
BMC Racing began to pursue, but side winds and rain impeded the chase. Moreover, they caused a crash that knocked Daniele Bennati (Leopard-Trek) out of the race and the upcoming Tour of Italy. The Italian suffered a broken right collarbone, four broken ribs, and a lung contusion.
Eventually, Astana, Liquigas, and RadioShack joined BMC Racing at the front. With 70 km left, the bunch trailed the break by 9:20. Ten km from the base of the Category 1 Col du Pillon, the gap had fallen to 6:20.
On the Pillon, the leaders began to attack each other. Kvachuk got clear but was caught on the descent. Brutt countered but was reeled in. The Russian tried again, and Kvachuk and Samoilau followed.
The trio began the climb to the finish together. With five km left, Brutt attacked and dropped his companions. Bobridge held on for fourth place.
Behind, a selection occurred. About 20 riders, including 2006 Tour of Romandy champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC), split from a larger group. Among those who were dropped were Roman Kreuzinger (Astana), who lost 3:30; and Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad), who lost 0:30.
Brutt said that he has no hope of winning the Tour of Romandy. "I'm not a GC rider," the Russian said. "There's a very hard stage tomorrow ... and I'm not a time-trial specialist. I'm more of a stage-win hunter, and I have zero chance of keeping this (yellow) jersey."
In the overall, Brutt leads Kvachuk by 1:00 and Samoilau by 1:22. Stage 2 will be a rugged, 171.8-km ride that will begin and end in Romont and that will feature two Category 2 climbs and one Category 1 ascent. Will Brutt be able to keep his overall lead? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!