Higuita slips under teammate Vlasov to victory

1st and 2nd place for Bora – hansgrohe in French-speaking Switzerland

Vlasov celebrates, but Higuita takes the stage | Photo: Cor Vos

30/04/2022 | (rsn) – The king stage of the Tour of Romandy in Zinal ended with double success for Bora – hansgrohe. At the end of the nearly 25-kilometer climb, Sergio Higuita and Aleksandr Vlasov finished in first and second place. Although the Russian crossed the finish line with both hands raised to the sky, his teammate from Colombia, who started the sprint early, slipped through to his side and won in front of his team’s nominal tour leader.

But there was no reason to be angry, Vlasov realized this immediately and cheered on his teammate, and the duo fell into each other’s arms after the finish line. “The victory means a lot to me because I really suffered. During the race I was sick, I struggled with allergies,” reported Higuita, who lost time in the prologue and on the first stage and therefore no longer played a role in classification games.

“We knew we could win here. Now we have finally succeeded,” said the happy Colombian, who secured his team’s sixth victory of the year. The 24-year-old also found solace in his teammate, who was only just defeated: “He can definitely catch up tomorrow in the time trial.”

Because Vlasov moved up to third place in the overall rankings, still led by Rohan Dennis (Jumbo – Visma), replacing his teammate Felix Großschartner, who closed over three minutes to the top favorites up to Zinal. Before the final mountain time trial, Dennis takes a 15-second lead over Spaniard Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), who finished in third place in today’s stage. Vlasov has 18 seconds to catch up if he still wants to win the six-day tour on the final day.

Berlin’s Simon Geschke finished the stage at the same time as the winner Higuita in ninth place and also climbed up to this position in the overall standings.

This is how the race went:

The king stage of this year’s Tour of Romandy led the field from Aigle, the headquarters of the UCI World Cycling Union, to Zinal, where a 25-kilometer final climb awaited. Twelve riders formed the day’s first outburst, which also included Germany’s Marco Brenner (DSM).

His companions were Filippo Colombo, Yannis Voisard, Nils Brun (all Swiss national teams), Quinten Hermans (Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert), Oscar Rodriguez (Movistar), Ivo Oliveira (UAE Team Emirates), Toms Skuijns (Trek – Segafredo), James Knox (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Ion Izagirre (Cofidis), Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal) and Raul Garcia Pierna (Kern Pharma).

The large group quickly gained a lead of just under five minutes. Latvian Skuijns, who took the virtual lead in the special classification, won the first two climbs of the day. Although the pace increased in the field, the breakaways held the lead for a long time of four minutes before being gradually removed from the field.

The first attack from the group of favorites was then launched by Colombian Augusto Rubio (Movistar). Behind them, senior manager Rohan Dennis’ team picked up speed, prompting riders like Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) to drop out.

Rubio went into the last descent with a few seconds advantage before the road up to Zinal again narrowed. Behind him stood more than 15 riders led by Jumbo – Visma. The next start followed only three and a half kilometers from goal, this time by Simon Geschke (Cofidis), but the German could not escape.

With Steven Kruijswijk, Dennis had one last helper chasing Rubio. In the last 1,500 meters, he was relieved by Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates), who increased the pace of his teammate Ayuso. In the headwind of the last kilometer, it was Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers) who tightened up again, but then it was overall captain Dennis who took matters into his own hands again.

Plapp then competed again, bringing the favorites up to Rubio, who was caught with 300 yards left and the sprint started. The two Bora riders, Higuita and Vlasov, then had the best legs and decided to win among themselves.

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