Richie Porte secured third overall at the Tour de Romandie today after crossing the line safely in the bunch sprint on the final stage, which also saw Rohan Dennis finish inside the top ten on the General Classification.
Despite ending in a sprint showdown on the streets of Genève, stage 5 was littered with short climbs, including three category three ascents in the first half of the 181.8km course.
As has been the case throughout the week, the battle to form the breakaway started early with five riders eventually going clear and extending an advantage of 2’45” after almost 20km of racing.
However, the peloton kept the race under control, never allowing the leaders to go more than 3’30” up the road and ultimately setting the stage for a fast and furious finish.
The gap was hovering around the two-minute mark as the chase began to heat up with the sprinters’ teams coming up to the front of the bunch to help race leader, Primoz Roglic’s Team LottoNL-Jumbo teammates with the pacemaking inside 70km to go.
The gap fell to under one minute approaching the 30km to go mark with the peloton strung out along the road as the catch was eventually made 20km later.
It was an intense run into the line with a late attacker caught inside 5km to go as the speed of the bunch saw riders beginning to lose contact approaching the flamme rouge.
After being protected by his BMC Racing Team teammates all day, Porte was well-positioned in the first half of the peloton in the closing kilometers of the day before crossing the line safely in the main bunch, behind stage winner Pascal Ackermann (BORA-Hansgrohe), to secure his spot on the podium, 35 seconds behind Roglic.
Dennis also crossed the line safely and after a solid week of racing in Switzerland, he finished seventh on the General Classification, 2’49” back.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
“When you come into a race as defending champion, it is always nice to be good but obviously with Andy Rihs passing away last week, and with this race being one of his favorite races in his home country, I would have loved to have won again. However, that didn’t really fit with where I was coming from and my main goal is in July. It hasn’t been the most straightforward run in so far, so to be there or thereabouts at this race is a good sign I think.”
“I am coming out of this race with a lot of confidence. Yesterday I felt like I was struggling a little, and then there was only one point on stage one where I didn’t feel great, but for the rest of the race, I was pretty comfortable. Looking at that, and considering the pace we have been racing at, it is a good sign. I think this year, I have taken another step forward in terms of my ability to suffer on the climbs and I think compared to last year I am in an even better place. I now need to recover from this week, it’s been a hard race, but I am excited about heading to the Giro d’Italia.”
Sports Director, Fabio Baldato:
“This is a good result for us. It was what we were hoping for and today was all about making sure we finished in the front and without any problems. The team worked well again today and they rode well around Richie Porte and also Rohan Dennis in the final. In the end, Tom Bohli and Danilo Wyss tried to do something in the sprint but it was chaotic. We knew it would be difficult as we weren’t the favorites for the sprint but we wanted to try something and it was good for two Swiss guys to do that.”
“Rohan Dennis now heads to the Giro d’Italia and he has proved here that he is in a great condition to really try for the GC and work towards both his own goals and the goals of the team. For Richie, it’s now back to work ahead of the Tour de Suisse and of course, the Tour de France but I think we can come out of this race confident. He is coming out of this race at a good level and we are looking forward to the months leading up to the start of the Tour.”