Sky’s Egan Bernal powered to victory in Friday’s stage 3 of the Tour de Romandie, a 9.8-kilometer uphill time trial from Ollon to Villars.
The promising 21-year-old Colombian bossed the climber-friendly course in 25:10 to take his first career WorldTour victory. Race leader Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) put in the day’s second best time, four seconds slower than Bernal’s, to maintain his grip on the yellow jersey. Bernal’s strong performance catapulted him to second overall.
“I’m happy but it was pretty tough,” said an exhausted Bernal at the finish line. “I really had to suffer.”
BMC’s Richie Porte was the only other rider to finish within half a minute of Bernal in the time trial, setting the third fastest mark, 18 seconds down.
The race continues Saturday with a 149.5-kilometer mountain stage that starts and finishes in Sion.
Stage 2, top 10
- 1. Egan Arley Bernal, TEAM SKY, in 25:10
- 2. Primož Roglič, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at :04
- 3. Richie Porte, BMC RACING TEAM, at :18
- 4. Steven Kruijswijk, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at :48
- 5. Rui Costa, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at 1:06
- 6. Pierre Latour, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 1:21
- 7. Rohan Dennis, BMC RACING TEAM, at 1:26
- 8. Daniel Martin, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at 1:28
- 9. Emanuel Buchmann, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 1:30
- 10. Simon Spilak, TEAM KATUSHA – ALPECIN, at 1:43
- 1. Primož Roglič, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, in 8:39:39
- 2. Egan Arley Bernal, TEAM SKY, at :06
- 3. Richie Porte, BMC RACING TEAM, at :27
- 4. Steven Kruijswijk, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 1:02
- 5. Rui Costa, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at 1:17
- 6. Rohan Dennis, BMC RACING TEAM, at 1:22
- 7. Pierre Latour, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 1:22
- 8. Daniel Martin, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at 1:42
- 9. Emanuel Buchmann, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 1:42
- 10. Ion Izagirre, BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at 1:55
Riders set out for the hill climb time trial on a balmy day in Switzerland. Considering the nature of the course, most of the day’s favorites were GC riders, making their starts later in the afternoon.
Sunweb’s Michael Storer was the first of the early starters to set a noteworthy time. He spent about 45 minutes in the hot seat before Katusha-Alpecin’s Matteo Fabbro bumped him out of the provisional lead.
Fabbro did not last long there, however, with Kristijan Durasek of UAE Team Emirates setting a faster mark only a few short minutes later. Then it was Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang who took the provisional lead, only to see his time bested by Simon Spilak (Katusha-Alpecin), always a threat in the Swiss one-week races.
UAE Team Emirates reclaimed the hot seat thanks to Dan Martin, but the Irishman then relinquished it to Steven Kruijswijk of LottoNL-Jumbo.
Porte came home a few minutes later and rode into a comfortable lead, 28 seconds faster than Kruijswijk, but Bernal had his sights on the stage. The Colombian was not quite as fast as Porte at the intermediate split, but bossed the second half of the course to knock Porte out of the hot seat and claim it for good.
The Colombian held off Roglic, who was the last rider on the road as the overnight race leader, to take the stage 3 victory and jump from seventh to second overall.