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Tour de Romandie: Peter Sagan wins from bunch sprint

Rohan Dennis maintains his position at the top of the overall standings as Peter Sagan takes comfortable stage win.

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Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) won a wet and windy stage 1 of the Tour of Romandie from a bunch sprint Wednesday.

The victory was his first for 11 years at the Swiss race and saw him beat Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Victorious) and Patick Bevin (Israel Start-Up Nation) to the line in Martigny.

“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,” Sagan said. “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.”

Colbrelli took the sprint on first, launching his effort from the wheel of his leadout man with about 250 meters to go. Sagan was quick to respond, moving into the slipstream of the Italian initially before ramping up the pace inside the final 150 meters.

On damp and slippery roads, it was not the quickest of bunch finishes but Sagan stormed home almost a bike length ahead of Colbrelli, much to the consternation of the Bahrain-Victorious rider.

After a difficult spring, it shows that Sagan’s form is heading in the right direction ahead of the Giro d’Italia next week.

Ineos Grenadiers keep GC stranglehold

Rohan Dennis (Ineos Grenadiers) finished comfortably in the peloton to maintain his position as race leader. He holds a nine-second lead over his teammates Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte, with Sagan now up to fifth place overall thanks to the bonus seconds he earned on the line.

“We rode a good tempo, we made sure that we kept a breakaway within distance. It was pretty straightforward,” Dennis said of the stage.

“Tomorrow will be more complicated than today, we will see what the legs can do. There is a bit more climbing than today. If I go down, I will go down swinging, but both of the guys can climb with the best in the world so there is no stress from me.

“I think that Saturday will be a pretty decisive day. In the end, my head is saying that I’m here if they guys need me on the front, even with this jersey on, I’ll ride.”

A small bunch

The size of the peloton had been drastically reduced as it approached the finishing stretch into Martigny after a day in the hills of Romandie. A stiff headwind for much of the final 20km made it even harder for dropped riders to regain contact.

Several teams sought to take advantage of the smaller bunch and there were multiple attacks inside the last 20km. However, the combined might of Ineos Grenadiers, the sprinters’ teams and the headwind ensured none of them succeeded.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

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