Frenchman David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) timed his uphill acceleration perfectly to win Friday’s third stage of the Tour de Romandie, which finished with a sprint up the steep climb to Chateau de Romont.
Gaudu, 22, finished just ahead of Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), with overnight leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) finishing third. Roglic retained his lead in the overall. Gaudu gained a 10-second time bonus with his stage win, which vaulted him into second place overall in general classification.
The dramatic finish came after a day of short, punchy climbs in a hilly region northeast of Lake Geneva. The 160km day looked ideal for a breakaway, and indeed an early move established itself 25km into the stage. The move contained Nikita Stalnov (Astana), Roland Thalmann (Switzeraland), Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Merida), Andrey Amador (Movistar), Michael Storer and Lennard Kamna (Team Sunweb), Michael Albasini (Mitchelton-Scott), and Kenny Elissonde (Team Ineos).
Jumbo-Visma rode on the front of the peloton to keep the breakaway in check.
The peloton roared to life inside 40km to go, when EF Education First rode to the front of the group and tapped out a hard tempo. The move was a sign that the American squad hoped to set up Canadian Michael Woods for the steep finish—Woods thrives on punchy climbs like the uphill drag to Chateau de Romont.
The acceleration quickly closed the gap to the breakaway, and with 15km remaining the diminished peloton roared to the finish intact. A solo move by Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) animated the group inside the final 10km, however it was soon chased down.
A chaotic charge to the line saw sprinter Sonny Colbrelli crash after he jostled with Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo). Gaudu rode near the front and was able to accelerate past Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) and Woods for the victory. The move briefly gapped Roglic, who had to sprint into the final to avoid losing time.
The result sets the stage for the Tour de Romandie’s final two stages, which include Saturday’s massive 173.7km climbing stage, which includes five categorized climbs and the summit finish to Torgon. The race concludes Sunday with a short 16.8km time trial in Geneva.