Tour de Romandie Stage 3: Alaphilippe 2nd in Reduced Bunch Arrival
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Julian Alaphilippe finished 2nd at the 3rd Stage of Tour de Romandie on Thursday, as Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE) was able to launch off the French rider's wheel and won the 173.2km stage.
Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing Team) was 3rd. Alaphilippe's teammate's Tony Martin and Rigoberto Uran moved up just in time for the leadout inside the final kilometer. As a result of a well positioned leadout, Uran also placed 7th.
The peloton was reduced to less than 80 riders with the undulating parcours. Stage 3 included four categorized climbs. However, the summit of the final categorized climb was at 25.1km to go and then there was flat or descending roads leading into the finishing straight, which was slightly uphill at 2.25% gradient. There was non-stop attacking in the final kilometers after two riders out of an original three-rider breakaway were caught with 48km remaining. However, none of those attacks lasted long.
Julian Alaphilippe continues to show his form as a 22-year-old rider for Etixx - Quick-Step, having finished 2nd in two Ardennes Classics and 3rd in the previous stage of Tour de Romandie.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to Stage 4, 169.8km in total distance, on Friday. The stage is up-and-down, but with only three ascents that are categorized, and none higher than Category Two. The roads after the last climb (Category 3) descend into a flat final 4 kilometers, and then the finishing few hundred meters are slightly downhill. Sprinters could have their say in this stage.
"Today I am happy about this result," Alaphilippe said. "At the start and during the race I didn't really have a great feeling. I think I paid a bit for the efforts of the last days of racing. The toughest parts of the parcours were also especially hard today and it was a difficult race in the final kilometers. In the end I counted on Tony and Rigo, and they brought me to the front. Luka Mezgec was there with his teammates, and Michael Albasini was also there. I knew they were the fastest guys who could contest the stage. The final was nervous and with about a couple hundred meters to go I launched my sprint. I went on the left, and Albasini on the right. He was clearly the faster, more powerful rider and he won. So I have no regrets about this race. I did the best I could against a strong competitor like Albasini. It's another podium placing. Now we look forward to the next stages to help Rigoberto."