After yesterday’s short opening prologue blast, the Tour de Romandie peloton were in action for the first open road stage of the race this afternoon. Faced with an intriguing route, the profile was dominated by a tricky climb in the middle of the day before another climb and a plateau of around 40 kilometres to the finish.
The team rode well as a unit after the breakaway had formed in the early stages but as the peloton approached the main climb the gap tumbled to those ahead as an infernal pace was set. Niklas Märkl and Marco Brenner stuck with sprint finisher Alberto Dainese and they tried their best as part of a group to come back to the head of the race after losing contact on the climb, but unfortunately the pace remained high and the elastic snapped. In the peloton the guys rallied around Romain Bardet, and worked well as a group coming into the technical finale as the race charged towards a reduced bunch sprint. With some good positioning work by Max Poole and Chris Hamilton, it was over to Oscar Onley who did a strong turn in the closing kilometre and brought Bardet into a place where he could sprint for a result. Showing the speed and explosiveness in his legs, Bardet kicked strongly and sprinted to a great fourth place; just a fraction of a wheel length behind the podium on the day.