Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) took the victory in the prologue of the Tour de Romandie.
The Italian covered the 4.8km distance in 5:57 to go 2 seconds faster than Alex Dowsett (Movistar) and take both the stage victory and the leader’s jersey.
Felline was the 52nd rider to start the short but tricky course, and after setting the fastest time at the intermediate split, he sprinted across the line at the top of the leaderboard. With still 100 riders to come, he settled into the hot seat for a long wait.
“As soon as I saw the route with the tight bends and climb, I thought it suited the specialists, but it’s also good for a complete rider like me,” Felline said. “When I crossed the line, it’s the first time I thought to myself at the end of a race: ‘I rode that to perfection.'”
With the GC contenders not willing to risk on the slippery course, and others unable to match Felline’s strong performance, rider after rider failed to unseat the Italian.
When Dowsett, the final rider to start and one favored to win the short race against the clock, passed the intermediate point in the same time as Felline, the first day of Romandie became a nerve-wracking finish.
However, Dowsett stopped the clock two seconds slower, and Felline finally celebrated his first win of the year.
“I never expected this victory,” continued Felline. “This is the biggest victory of this season for me, and I needed this win for a lot of reasons. It has been two months that I have always been in the front [of races], always with the good riders, but always I missed the results. This victory is for sure a good present for me, and for the team.”
Tour de Romandie 2017 – prologue results:
|1||Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo)||
|2||Alex Dowsett (Movistar)||
|3||Alexander Edmondson (Orica-Scott)||
|4||Maximilian Schachmann (Quick-Step Floors)||
|5||Victor Campenaerts (LottoNl-Jumbo)||
|6||Primoz Roglic (LottoNl-Jumbo)||
|7||Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky)||
|8||Tom Bohli (BMC)||
|9||Johan Le Bon (FDJ)||
|10||Christoph Pfingsten (Bora-hansgrohe)||