Froome Wins ITT, Takes Tour de Romandie
Chris Froome (Team Sky Pro Cycling) has won his second consecutive Tour de Romandie. Froome, who has battled illness and injury all spring, pipped world time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) by 0:01 to win the hilly, 18.5-km individual time trial in and around Neuchatel in 24:50. Jesse Sergent (Trek) took third at 0:08.
When the day started, first place appeared to be a two-man race between overall leader Simon Spilak (Katusha) and Froome, who were separated by 0:01. The third podium spot, however, was up for grabs, with less than two minutes separating positions 3 through 11. Froome’s ride settled the issue of who would win the overall. Spilak could have been knocked completely off of the podium, but he raced strongly and finished seventh at 0:29 to secure the runner-up spot, while Costa finished eighth at 0:31 to remain in third place. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), who began the day in fourth place, finished 17th at 0:43, thereby dropping to fifth behind Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling), who placed 10th at 0:35.
Since winning the Tour of Oman in February, Froome had battled injuries and illness. He dropped out of Tirreno-Adriatico and finished sixth at the Volta a Catalunya. This week’s victory, however, suggests that the Briton’s preparation for the Tour de France is back on track.
“It was extremely hard and a really tough circuit, but the climb was good for me in the time trial today," Froome said of the course. "With one second to try and gain on Simon Spilak, it was really difficult because he was really strong two days ago in the mountains and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen today.
“It was a really good test for me and I am just really happy to have got the result and be back in a yellow jersey again. It’s a really good feeling.
“This has been a really hard period for me recently," he added. "I have had a chest infection and I have had problems with my back this season, so it hasn’t been very easy. I have worked really hard to get back to this kind of condition. I just hope that I can continue to build towards the Tour de France.”
Despite losing ground to Froome and settling for second overall, Spilak was satisfied with his stage and his race. “It was a hard time trial with a really tough climb,” the Katusha man said, “but I did everything possible and gave all I had to obtain the highest result possible so I am pleased with my place on the podium. The strongest won today.
“It was a great week, and I am happy I took the victory at the queen’s stage, wore the yellow jersey for several days, and made the final podium. In addition, I was able to get 86 points for Team Katusha in the WorldTour. That's great.”
In the overall, Froome beat Spilak by 0:28 and Costa by 1:32. Many of this week’s riders will ride the 2014 Giro d’Italia, which begins this Saturday. How will they fare? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!