The Tour Take | Romandie Stage 3
1st – Egan Bernal (Sky)
2nd – Primoz Roglic @ 0:04 (Team LottoNL-Jumbo)
3rd – Richie Porte @ 0:18 (BMC)
A 9.9km time trial with the road permanently pointed uphill. Averaging 8% for the whole lot, it was pretty consistent with a few parts reaching 12%. The climb wasn’t filthy, just hard.
Primoz Roglic holds onto yellow by 6 seconds from Bernal, while Richie Porte is 27 seconds back from him. Bernal stays in white, while De Gendt and Minaard stay in the Points and KOM Jerseys repesctively.
The movers and shakers
In relation to the GC, Primoz Roglic probably had the best day, holding onto the GC in a pretty testing stage, but Bernal has fired a big shot ahead of tomorrow’s mountain extravaganza. Richie Porte mightn’t have had the best day in terms of figuring in the overall here at Romandie, but he’s still in with a chance, and more importantly, it confirms his form is in the right direction. Steven Kruiswijk also was impressive, while Rohan Dennis and Simon Spilak could jump into the top 5 tomorrow.
Geraint Thomas had a tough day, losing 2:33, while both the Izagirres dropped down a long way; Jon lost 1:45 and Gorka lost 3:13.
The Surprise Packets
Egan Bernal has won a few races this year including the Colombia Oro y Paz and Colombian National ITT – but this a huge win. The lad is a 21-year-old neo pro and he’s just knocked off Richie Porte and Primoz Roglic in a World Tour uphill ITT. He won the Tour l’Avenir last year, signaling he’s a rider for the future at Grand Tours, and I’ll call it now– he wins one by the end of 2020.
Further down the standings, Matteo Fabbro came 18th as he rebounded well from the disappointment of getting a mechanical yesterday in what turned out to be the winning break. Rob Power also rode extremely well to finish 22nd.
3rd – Richie Porte @ 0:18 (3rd on GC @ 0:27)
7th – Rohan Dennis @ 1:26 (6th on GC @ 1:22, 9th in Points)
22nd – Robert Power @ 2:19 (18th on GC @ 2:32, 3rd in Young Riders)
30th – Michael Storer @ 2:34 (94th on GC @ 20:07)
40th – Chris Hamilton @ 3:06 (92nd on GC @19:57
52nd – Brendan Canty @ 3:36 (82nd on GC @ 15:16)
53rd – Damien Howson @ 3:39 (43rd on GC @ 3:54)
56th – Lucas Hamilton @ 3:47 (49th on GC @ 4:34, 10th in Young Riders)
104th – Will Clarke @ 6:31 (91st on GC @ 17:18, 7th in Points, 9th in KOM)
Michael Matthews was a DNS, he did mention post-race yesterday that he was feeling torrid after a pretty big block of racing since coming back from injury.
Stage 4 is the only true mountain stage, a 149km loop of the hills surrounding the start/finish town of Sion. 5 climbs, running in the order of cat 1, cat 1, cat 2, cat 2 and a cat 1 to finish. The final climb, Les Collons is 13 km with a 6.5% average, but tops out 30km from the line and descends nearly that entire distance to the line.
It’s a tough stage, but a bit hard to pick. The closeness at the top of the GC suggests that it might go off – Sky will put the pressure on Roglic – even if he’s improved astronomically this year, he’s not the best climber going around. You wouldn’t put it past Richie to try and shake things up either. The final climb tops out 30km from the line though, and that might discourage attacks.
I’ll go out on a limb and suggests Richie wins the stage, after a mountain raid with Bernal, who takes enough time to lead the GC. Take all this with a grain of salt though – I picked Geraint Thomas in this TT and he was pedaling squares by the checkpoint at 4km in.
See you back at the social club,