Simon Spilak won stage 3 of this year’s Tour de Romandie in Aigle today, after edging out Chris Froome in a sprint finish by a mere tire’s length. Meanwhile, Rui Costa rounded out the podium in third place.
Earlier Race Highlights
Today’s "Queen" stage featured no fewer than four categorized climbs.
A sizable breakway group containing Danilo Wyss (BMC), Jack Bobridge (Belkin), Tom Veelers (Giant-Shimano), Davide Malacarne and Cyril Gautier (both Europcar), Boris Vallee (Lotto-Belisol) and Andrey Grivko (Astana), got underway soon after the start of today’s stage. And, by the time the race reached the first climb of the day, the escapees had build up a substantial lead of 5:57 over the peloton.
Veelers and Vallee were the first riders to fall back during the climb of the Col des Planches. This served as a portend for things to come, as with each climb, more and more escapees fell off the pace, until only Gautier and Malacarne remained out front – until they in turn were reeled in during the final 38 kilometers.
Albasini relinquished his leader’s jersey on the penultimate climb, after he was dropped from the group, along with the GC’s number two rider – Michal Kwiatkowski.
Vincenzo Nibali was the first rider to initiate an attack on the final climb, which was quickly counter by Chris Froome. From there, Froome took over the pace setting while Nibali latched onto his wheel.
However, shortly thereafter the Italian rider "cracked", leaving Froome out front alone.
Initially, Spilak wasn’t able to follow Nibali and Froome’s move. However, the Slovenian rider later succeeded in tracking down Nibali and joining Froome at the front.
Behind the leaders, havoc beset the peloton, with a series of upsets that saw a number of riders fall off the pace due to exhaustion, mechanical problems and crashes.
As Froome and Spilak crested the top of the Villars-sur-Ollon, the duo held a 40 second advantage over the chase, which was now being driven by Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling), Beñat Intxausti (Movistar), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) – after they caught Nibali.
On the final descent, Nibali would try to use his descending skills in a last ditch effort to try and close the gap. However, Froome and Spilak’s advantage prove to be insurmountable.
Stage 3 Results SLO 1 SPILAK, Simon (KATUSHA) 5:09:23 GBR 2 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) POR 3 FARIA DA COSTA, Rui Alberto (LAMPRE – MERIDA) + 57
General Classification after Stage 3 SLO 1 SPILAK, Simon (KATUSHA) 0 GBR 2 FROOME, Christopher (SKY) + 1
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