Peter Sagan takes commanding Tour de Romandie sprint victory
Three times World Champion, Peter Sagan came off Cobrelli's wheel keeping all the other sprinters at bay. Rohan Dennis retains the race lead.
A 168.1km circuitous parcours was waiting for the riders on the first road stage of the Tour de Romandie. The race would ascend the third category 3 La Rasse climb before taking on four laps of a 33km circuit over two third category climbs before a final push to the finish line in Martigny.
While the stage looked like one for the sprinters, this didn’t stop a group of six brave riders going it alone almost as soon as the stage started. Having built up a lead of more than six minutes in the opening 50km, the peloton kicked into action, to slowly reduce the time gap, which fell to four minutes with 100km to go.
As the breakaway riders began to attack each other with 50km to go, Juraj Sagan and Jordi Meeus took to the front of the peloton to help bring them back, his efforts seeing the escape’s advantage fall to two minutes, before hitting one minute with 35km left to race. In spite of the break’s last-ditch efforts and one rider desperately holding on, with Bora's Marcus Burghardt and Ben Zwiehoff pushing the pace, it was all back together just as the race completed the final lap of the circuit and started the flat 22km drive to the finish line.
The fast pace saw splits in the peloton, as well as attacks, but with Bora's Ben Zwiehoff driving the pace on the front to prevent further attacks, Peter Sagan was staying safe and making sure he was in contention for the finale. With the metres counting down, the Slovak rider picked his moment perfectly, putting the power down and distancing his rivals, coming from four riders back to take a clear victory.
From the finish line Peter Sagan said, "I'm really happy to win again in the Tour de Romandie. In 2010 I had taken the first road stage and here I am eleven years later with another victory. I have to thank my teammates for their great job today, in the last two laps they were pulling in the front and after the last climb, they held the bunch together. It feels nice after three weeks without any racing to come here and win, probably the only stage suited to me because the following ones will be very hard. Thanks as well to the whole team and its sponsors for their continuous support."
VIDEO: 2021 Tour de Romandie Stage 1 Highlights
2021 Tour de Romandie Stage 1 Top 10
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 4:12:40
2 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
3 Patrick Bevin (NZl) Israel Start-up Nation
4 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
5 Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6 Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo
7 Dion Smith (NZl) Team BikeExchange
8 Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
9 Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
10 Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
2021 Tour de Romandie GC after Stage 1
1 Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 4:18:06
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:0:09
3 Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers
4 Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:0:11
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:0:12
6 Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain Victorious 0:0:13
7 Patrick Bevin (NZl) Israel Start-up Nation 0:0:14
8 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
9 Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates 0:0:15
10 Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep