Colbrelli shines as Dennis protects Tour de Romandie lead
Italy's Sonny Colbrelli sprinted to victory on the second stage of the Tour de Romandie on Thursday as peloton heavyweights Chris Froome and Peter Sagan slipped off the pace
Colbrelli, of the Bahrain team, celebrated his first win of 2021 after edging out New Zealand's Patrick Bevin and Marc Hirschi of Switzerland on the 165km-run between La Neuveville and Saint-Imier.
"Yesterday was for (Peter) Sagan, today it worked for me and I'm happy," said 30-year-old Colbrelli who was second on the opening stage on Wednesday.
"On the last climb, I managed to hang on."
Bevin also moved into second place in the overall standings behind Australian race leader Rohan Dennis of Ineos.
On a good day for Ineos, 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, and teammate Richie Porte finished the day just nine seconds off the lead.
Former Ineos rider Froome, the four-time Tour de France winner, who now competes for Israel Start-Up Nation, did not figure in the group of 36 which pushed for victory on Thursday.
He was dropped on the climb up Vue des Alpes and ended the day more than five minutes off the lead. The climb saw a credible attack which saw Rohan Dennis come to the front of the peloton and bring the attack back after being sheltered by his Ineos teammates for most of the stage.
Former world champion Sagan, who won the opening stage on Wednesday, is now 7min 44sec off the pace.
The start of the stage was peppered with attempts to break away, with several groups going on the attack only to be brought back. It wasn’t until 30km had been covered that six riders managed to make a move stick, going on to build a lead of a little more than two minutes over the peloton.
As the break splintered as the number of climbs racked up, a hard effort from the peloton brought the last escapee within reach, destroying their two-minute advantage in the space of 5km before making the catch with 20km to go.
From here, it was the GC race that took centre stage, with multiple attacks pulled back and an incredibly fast pace stretching out the bunch. With no splits on the last climb to create time gaps, it was all going to come down to the fight to the finish.
Cobrelli won the final sprint ahead of Patrick Bevin and Marc Hirschi.
VIDEO: 2021 Tour de Romandie Stage 2 Highlights
2021 Tour de Romandie Stage 2 Top 10
1 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious 4:21:42
2 Patrick Bevin (NZl) Israel Start-up Nation
3 Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates
4 Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
5 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
7 Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Team DSM
8 Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
9 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
10 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team
2021 Tour de Romandie GC after Stage 2
1 Rohan Dennis (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers 8:39:48
2 Patrick Bevin (NZl) Israel Start-up Nation 0:0:08
3 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:0:09
4 Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers
5 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
6 Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates 0:0:11
7 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis 0:0:14
8 Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:0:15
9 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:0:16
10 Ilan Van Wilder (Bel) Team DSM