Wintry day at Tour de Romandie
Maximilian Schachmann retained the white jersey at the end of a stage won from the early breakaway.
Thursday began with an important news for the Tour de Romandie riders, who were informed by the organizers that the stage will be shortened by 22.3 kilometers due to snow and cold. Immediately after signing for the start, the riders climbed in the team buses and traveled to Aigle, from where the official depart was given, thus avoiding the long and potentially dangerous descent from Champéry.
Not long after, Sander Armee (Lotto-Soudal), Andriy Grivko (Astana), Stefan Kung (BMC) and Frederik Veuchelen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) slipped away and formed a group which opened a maximum gap of five minutes. In one of the coldest and most brutal race days in recent seasons, one in which the riders got accompanied by heavy rain, strong wind and freezing snow, the escapees made it all the way to the finish in Bulle, despite the combined efforts of Quick-Step Floors and Bahrain-Merida, who chased behind the leaders, but came short in the end, as the escapees made it, with Kung taking the victory ahead of Grivko.
Vuelta a San Juan double stage winner Maximiliano Richeze sprinted for Quick-Step Floors and finished in the top 10, just ahead of teammate Max Schachmann, who came home safely tucked in the pack and kept his second place in the overall classification, where another Quick-Step Floors rider – Luxembourg Champion Bob Jungels – sits in sixth.
After this excruciating day, which contained also three categorized ascents on top on having the riders go through a real ordeal weather-wise, the German neo-pro continues to lead the best young rider standings and will wear the white jersey on stage 3, which will take place on Friday, around Payerne, over 187 kilometers.
"Today was a horrible day. I can't put into words how cold it was out there. Everybody in the peloton was suffering so much and I'm not exaggerating when I say it was one of the coldest and toughest days I've ever had on the bike. I want to thank the team for protecting me throughout the stage and showing me how much faith they have in me, that means a lot. I'm glad to have retained my white jersey, it's a really great feeling to lead a classification in a World Tour event and it gives me even more motivation for the remaining stages of Romandie", said Max Schachmann after the finish in Bulle.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele