LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AFP) — Chris Froome’s ambitions for a third-straight win at the Tour de Romandie are alive and well as his Sky team won Tuesday’s opening-stage team time trial by less than one second.
The British squad, last to start, stopped the clock on the 19.2km stage from Vallee de Joux to Jurapac in 21 minutes, 19 seconds, narrowly ahead of Australian team Orica-GreenEdge and five seconds quicker than Katusha.
Sky’s Geraint Thomas will wear the leader’s yellow jersey on Wednesday’s 168.1km, hilly, second stage from Apples to Saint-Imier.
The Welsh rider, who won the E3 Harelbeke in Belgium last month, wore Romandie’s yellow jersey in 2012 after his victory in the prologue.
“We usually come second by a narrow margin so it was great to get the win today,” said Thomas.
“The team time trial is something the team wants to target a bit more. We’ve always been up there but we’ve never really had much focus on it. We’re looking to keep improving in that area so it’s great to win.
“We wanted to go as fast as possible and do the best ride to try and win the stage, for us all, not just to get the yellow. It’s great for morale and to come away with the win is really nice.”
Vincenzo Nibali’s Astana finished 16 seconds behind while Nairo Quintana is already trailing by 40 seconds after a disappointing showing from Movistar.
The first team time trial on the Tour de Romandie since 2009 served as an ideal warm-up for the peloton ahead of the Tour de France’s ninth stage, also a TTT, on July 9, in Brittany.