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VILLARS, Switzerland (VN) – Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hangrohe) put in a thoroughly commanding performance to win the mountain time trial and the overall at the Tour de Romandie.
The Russian demolished the field over the 15.8km route to Villars, winning by 31 seconds and overturning an 18-second overnight deficit to win the biggest stage race of his career.
Pre-stage race leader Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) came into the time trial as the race hot favorite but crumbled on the final climb to leave Vlasov taking the overall by 50 seconds from surprise package Gino Mäder (Bahrain-Victorious).
“It’s an amazing day for me and my first stage victory in a WorldTour race. It’s amazing,” Vlasov said as he stepped off the podium in Villars.
Also read: Vlasov blasts past Dennis in Romandie
Vlasov had finished second to teammate Sergio Higuita on the stage 4 summit finish to Zinal, and many pondered whether missing out on four bonus seconds would prove costly against Dennis, who had looked unbeatable throughout the week.
The Russian and his team need not have worried, such was the speed at which Vlasov went up the 10km climb.
“Yesterday was a perfect team victory and my goal from the start of this race was this stage,” Vlasov said. “It was the most important stage of the race, it was all for GC. I just wanted to do my best. I decided not to push too hard and then save something for the final. I think that I was regular on the climb. Yesterday was more of a warm-up and today I went full gas. My goal was to win the GC and I just did my best.”
— BORA – hansgrohe (@BORAhansgrohe) May 1, 2022
But for sickness taking him out of Paris-Nice, the 26-year-old has been on an incredible trajectory this season. He was fourth in the UAE Tour, and backed that up with third in the Tour of Basque Country and La Flèche Wallonne.
The main goal for his season is the Tour de France, and although his grand tour form has been patchy at times, there is growing evidence that just like in the Giro d’Italia last year, Vlasov could provide genuine opposition in the Tour de France.
“This victory, I understand that I’m a very strong rider and that my next big goal is the Tour de France. I have a rest and then I start my preparation for the grand tour. It’s very nice to win this race and it makes me more confident,” he said.