Meersman grabs stage 3 win at the Tour de Romandie

Sky's Chris Froome remains the overall race leader with two days left

Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) won the third stage of the Tour de Romandie on Friday.

It was the second victory at the race for the Belgian rider, who won Wednesday’s stage 1.

Friday’s 181-kilometer route was hilly throughout, with four categorized climbs sprinkled in. One final, uncategorized climb summitted with about 10.5km left. From there, the road pointed downhill as the peloton rode into the finishing town of Payerne.

A sharp right turn with just over a kilometer left was the final obstacle, as the course flattened out and stayed straight to the finish line from there. With a few hundred meters left, Meersman pulled around his Omega Pharma teammates, who executed a solid leadout, and out-sprinted Francesco Gavazzi (Astana) and Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) for the win.

“I was very disappointed about my sprint yesterday, and I wanted to make it up to my teammates today,” said Meersman, who placed third in stage 2. “The team set it up perfectly for me.

“Maybe it looked easy, it was not so easy. Tony [Martin] did the last 600m and it was perfect. Tomorrow I will help the boys now. I had a few stages in my mind. Two times first, one time third, so I am happy.”

Chris Froome (Sky) remains the GC leader with two days of racing left. American Andrew Talansky (BMC Racing) is six seconds behind, while Meersman is third (+9 seconds).

“I’m feeling good,” Froome said on Sky’s website. “I’ve had the luxury of just sitting on the wheels for the past three days. And I have literally had a wheel to sit on all day, every day. The only time I was in the wind was in the prologue!

“It’s been good for me but obviously there’s no such thing as an easy day here. The other teams have been attacking us and the guys have really dug deep every day. They’ve been fantastic.”

The six-day race ends with Sunday’s 18.6km time trial through Geneva.