Dennis defends Romandie’s lead
Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers, Mi.) has won stage 2 of the Tour de Romandie. | Photo: Cor Vos
28/04/2022 | (rsn) – Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) experiences an emotional roller coaster ride at the Tour de Romandie. After its victory in the prologue and last place on the first stage, the Briton won the second part of the sprint in a decimated field. Jon Aberasturi (Trek – Segafredo) finished second after 168 kilometers around Échallens ahead of Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates). Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora – hansgrohe) just missed the bonus seconds in fourth place, Nikias Arndt (DSM) was seventh. The turquoise sweater remains on the shoulders of Rohan Dennis (Jumbo – Visma).
After a fall, Hayter finished late Wednesday, and Geraint Thomas was given a 20-second time penalty for illegally receiving a bottle in the final. But Ineos was not impressed with this. In the last 25 kilometers of the 2nd stage, the British dominated the race. “We planned it that way before we started. The last 40 kilometers were always up and down. We would not necessarily outcompete the others, we would put them under pressure, “Hayter explained the tactics of his team in the goal interview.
24 hours earlier, Ineos had put pressure on to defend Hayter’s leader jersey. But the 23-year-old stayed at the end of the field and eventually fell to the ground like many other motorists in a mass crash on the last 13 kilometers. “I was lucky yesterday. I did not break anything and could continue today,” said Hayter, who had to take some criticism for his poor positioning in the field.
Hayter drove flawlessly this time
But the all-rounder had obviously learned from his mistake. When his team took the lead, Hayter was ahead. On the hilly terrain, Ineos clearly decimated the field in the final, with veteran Andrey Amador being the primary charge. His teammate Hayter was even able to start the sprint. “We knew it was possible. I did not feel good in the beginning, but then fought my way into the race. The team was really perfect. Then it’s great to win,” said the Londoner, who crossed the finish line and put his index finger to his mouth as a hint to his critics.
For Arndt, however, the last meters were not perfect. The 30-year-old was the best German in seventh place, but he had expected more. “If it comes to the sprint, I have a good chance. Gaviria is fast, of course, but after him I’m probably one of the fastest here, ”he said at the start of the Eurosport microphone. When the sprint started on the left side of the road, Arndt was squeezed on the right side by Ben O’Connor (AG2R – Citroën), although the Australian did not fail anything.
Nothing changed at the top of the overall standings. After a safe performance, Dennis is still 14 seconds ahead of Felix Großschartner (Bora – hansgrohe). New third is the best rider in the junior class, Mauro Schmid (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl). Due to better daily rankings, the Swiss pushed past Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious), who finished fourth at the same time. The mountain jersey took Thomas Champion (Cofidis), the points jersey changes to the shoulders of today’s winner.
This is how the race went:
Toms Skujins (Trek – Segafredo), Baptiste Planckaert (Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert), Diego Lopez (Kern Pharma) and Nils Brun (Switzerland) made up the group of the day. Only 1:30 minutes later in the standings, Skujins was a real threat to the turquoise jersey, which is why Jumbo – Visma never allowed the quartet to have a lead of more than three minutes.
About 37 kilometers from goal, Planckaert and Lopez lost touch with their companions on one of the many short climbs. 17 kilometers later it happened for Brun and Skujins. Ineos Grenadiers set the pace the last 20 kilometers. This shrunk the field to about 70 riders who built the goal together.
After a chaotic final kilometer, Ineo’s prologue winner Hayter prepared the sprint. As the final starter, Magnus Sheffield gave it his all again before his British team-mate started over and cashed in the victory in a commanding manner. Aberasturi finished in second place, Vlasov, who was also surprisingly ahead, finished in fourth place, just behind Gaviria, who is considered by many to be a top favorite.
Arndt was caught by the barriers and was unable to complete his sprint fully, so the DSM captain eventually got no more than seventh place.