Richie Porte added the Tour de Romandie to his list of General Classification victories today after a huge display of strength in the closing time trial in Lausanne saw him secure the overall win.
As the first riders rolled off the ramp, the provisional best time was changing after almost every crossing of the finish line with Stefan Küng setting one of the early benchmarks (26’05”).
Over the course of the day the lead continued to change hands and, despite a near miss with a race car out on the course, Tejay van Garderen also found himself in the hot seat.
The American, who has been showing his form ahead of the Giro d’Italia, crossed the line in 25’32” before the eventual stage winner, Primoz Roglič (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) set the only time under 25 minutes (24’58”).
Porte was the penultimate rider to hit the course and quickly made his intentions clear, powering up the opening climb and making his mark on the race.
As he headed onto the final kilometers of the course, Porte’s determination was visible with the Australian gritting his teeth while chasing the 19 seconds that stood between him and the top step of the podium.
Porte eventually crossed the line in 25’06” which was enough to take second on the stage, and secure the final yellow jersey of the week in Switzerland, 21 seconds ahead of Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT).
“If I’m honest, it’s a bit of a shock to win. I knew I was in good condition for this race so to finish off the hard work that BMC Racing Team have put in for me is incredible.”
“I also think I should make mention to two of our colleagues who we recently lost; Chad Young and Michele Scarponi. It’s been a tough week for all of us and it sort of makes cycling, or racing, feel a little irrelevant after what’s happened.”
You demonstrated your abilities on the final climb yesterday. That was obviously the right decision?
“I really wanted to get the stage win yesterday, and I think the team did an incredible job. I must take my hat off to Danilo Wyss who just exploded the race there. It just feels great to win this race. We are an American team firmly rooted in Switzerland so, I think we put on a good show at what could be described as a home race.”
You have already won Paris-Nice and now you have added the Tour de Romandie to your palmares. Can you compare the two victories?
“I think they are both incredible and every win is important. Winning the Santos Tour Down Under at the beginning of the year was also a great achievement. For me, this race is special as I won my first race as a professional here. To win like this is incredible and it hasn’t really sunk in yet.”
Does this race give you more confidence looking ahead to the main goal this year?
“100%. The team has backed me to the hill this year. They have built a team around me, they have put no pressure on me, and it is just going so well right now. I am really happy with where I am at the moment.”
Tejay van Garderen:
“There was an organization car that missed the detour while following Roman Kreuziger (ORICA-SCOTT), and I was coming up quickly behind him. It was a scary moment, but I was happy that I was able to go around him and still do a really good time trial. Overall I think I have had a good week. It was a pity about the crash in the prologue, but you can’t dwell on that.”
“We got the victory overall with Richie Porte which was amazing, and I feel like I was showing good form and that I am strong. Now, I hope that I can carry this shape into the Giro d’Italia. It’s only four days away, and I am looking forward to getting started.”
Sports Director, Fabio Baldato:
“I am extremely happy with today’s victory. We maybe didn’t start the race in the best way with the prologue. We lost some time there, but after the victory of Stefan Küng, everything turned around. The morale and the motivation of the team increased, and everyone was focused. Yesterday we made the first move to try and win this race and today, Richie did exactly what we hoped he could do. He was amazing. He proved he was the strongest climber today and I think that is why he won the Tour de Romandie.”
“Every race is always practice for the next one and for Richie the end goal will be the Tour de France. This gives us the morale and motivation needed to continue to do better and to stay focused.”