Tour de Romandie 2018 – 72th Edition – 5th stage Mont sur Rolle – Geneve 181,8 km – 29/04/2018 – Pascal Ackermann (GER – Bora – Hansgrohe) – photo Luis Angel Gomez/BettiniPhoto©2018

Pascal Ackermann prevailed on the last stage of the Tour de Romandie to collect his first professional victory. Due to the relatively straightforward profile of today’s stage, it was expected that the yellow jersey of P. Roglic would not be put in significant danger today. All eyes were therefore on the sprinters. With Pascal, BORA-hansgrohe had a good chance of a top position on today’s stage and the young rider didn’t disappoint. His teammate Emanuel Buchmann was able to successfully defend his 9th position in the overall standings.

The Stage
A 182km-long stage from Mont-sur-Rolle to Geneva concluded this year’s Tour de Romandie. With three Category 3 climbs in the first half of the race, the stage presented undulating terrain. However, with the flat finale it was likely that the sprinters would have their day today.

The Team Tactics
The fifth stage was one for the fast men. Because everything pointed towards a sprint finish in Geneva, our plan was to concentrate on our sprint. Pascal Ackermann, who has consistently shown great form throughout the season so far, would have a good chance if it came to a fast finish. The team therefore tried to ensure that the race was capped off with a bunch sprint and aimed to bring Pascal into an optimal position in the finishing straight for the anticipated finale. In Rudi Selig, Pascal had a strong lead-out man for the finish, who would hopefully be able to assist the young German sprinter to a solid result today.

The Race
Almost immediately after the start, 5 riders took their chance to form the breakaway of the day, and after 25km they had managed to carve out an advantage of 3 minutes, while LottoNL-Jumbo took over responsibility for setting the pace in the main field. At the foot of the last categorised climb of the day, BORA-hansgrohe, together with Bahrain Merida, set the tempo at the front of the peloton, and the gap to the break began to come down. With 30km remaining until the finish, BORA-hansgrohe put down the hammer on the slightly downhill stretch into Geneva, and the escapees’ lead was whittled down quite quickly as they were in the sights of the chasing peloton. The breakaway was caught by the speeding field with 11km left to race, at which point the sprinters’ trains began to get themselves into formation. After a strong job by Rudi Selig to bring Pascal into an excellent position from which to launch himself for the final, the young German sprinter raced across the finish line to celebrate the first professional victory of his career.

01 P. Ackermann      4:09:51
02 M. Morkov             +0:00
03 R. Ferrari               +0:00
04 T. Dupont               +0:00
05 R. Selig                  +0:00

From the Finish Line
“The guys worked hard to support me the whole day, and in the end Rudi Selig brought me into the perfect position in the last 200m. I am very thankful for all the hard work of my teammates. It was a real goal of ours to win today and we achieved this. The race has not been easy and it was difficult for me to stay within the time limit on the penultimate stage. So it is nice to see that our hard work paid off.” – Pascal Ackermann

“The team worked well today for Pascal. Our plan was to bring him in a good position for the sprint. He fought to stay within the time limit yesterday, but he was very motivated and today his hard work paid dividends. The team put its trust in him and everyone was willing to do their best for him. In addition, we can also be very happy with Emanuel Buchmann’s top 10 result in the general classification. For our team, it has been a successful week.” – Steffen Radochla, Sport Director

“I’m very satisfied with my 9th place in the general classification. The race was tough this year, and a top 10 result is a good achievement. I think this race shows that I have good form, and I’m confident heading into my next races. It was nice to see Pascal take the win today in Geneva. We worked the whole day for him and it’s a great way to finish the Tour de Romandie.” – Emanuel Buchmann

“It’s great to be back with the team at Tour de Romandie and to return to the racing environment. My condition is ok at the moment, but we still have a lot of work to do. The race here in Switzerland has been hard, but I’ve managed to get through the stages quite ok and have been able to assist the team wherever I can. This race is never an easy one, and hopefully it will provide me with the legs I need to move my form to the next level. After the Tour de Romandie, I’ll race Eschborn-Frankfurt, and then I’ll have some easier days before heading to the team training camp in Austria. This will hopefully allow me to get some good work done heading towards the Critérium du Dauphiné, where I think I will be in a lot better shape and can hopefully be more involved in the racing and even try for some results. After the Dauphiné, I’ll target the national championships, and I’ll also use the Dauphiné to decide with the team if I’ll go to the Tour de France or not.” – Peter Kennaugh