Dylan Teuns pounced to land his second victory of the season on Wednesday when the Bahrain Victorious rider won stage one at the Tour de Romandie, while second-placed Rohan Dennis took the leader’s jersey off the shoulders of Ethan Hayter.
Teuns, who earlier this month won the Flèche Wallonne one-day classic in his native Belgium, made his move on the final drag after Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) had put space between himself and the leading group containing a number of overall contenders, including defending champion Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers).
Despite missing out on the stage win, Dennis took hold of the leader’s jersey after Ineos Grenadiers rider Hayter was involved in a mass pile-up on the fast approach to the final categorised climb of the day. Hayter managed to remount and cross the finishing line, but all but dropped out of contention after losing over 14 minutes to Dennis.
Following Hayter’s crash, Thomas, who finished 12th on the day, moved up to third on general classification, the Welshman trailing former team-mate Dennis by 16sec, while Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) moved up a place to second on the same time.
The Tour de Romandie continues on Thursday with the 168.2km second stage from Échallens to Échallens and concludes with an uphill individual time trial on Sunday.
Prologue: Britain’s Hayter storms into early lead
Tuesday April 26 – Lausanne to Lausanne, 5.12km
Ethan Hayter landed the first WorldTour victory of his career on Tuesday when the Ineos Grenadiers rider won the prologue of the six-day Tour de Romandie in Switzerland.
The British national time trial champion powered around the short 5.12 kilometre course in Lausanne in 5min 52sec, 4sec faster than Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma), the two-time world time trial champion, while Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) was third at 9sec.
Having earlier in the season tested positive with Covid, the south Londoner had struggled with form and despite winning a stage and the points jersey at last month’s Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, the 23-year-old took a four-week break from racing, before returning to action at the Tour de Romandie.
“I’ve had few setbacks at the start of the year, so I’ve taken a bit of a break from racing and gone away and trained really hard,” Hayter said. “To come back like this is really nice. This time trial suited me, I thought I’d give it a crack and it worked out well.
“It’s been a while since I’ve last been racing, so it was a shock to the system,” Hayter added. “I spent a lot of time at 600 watts on the uphill drags and I actually cornered quite fast, too. I went out hard and pushed on a few of the corners, though I took the last one quite steady as I was hitting 70 kilometres per hour.”
Geraint Thomas, the defending champion and team-mate of Hayter, was fourth fastest and will start stage one 10sec down on general classification.
“Fourth’s alright, it could have been better,” Thomas said. “It’s a funny feeling doing a prologue like this after [Liège-Bastogne-Liège] on Sunday. But I’m happy with it. I gave it everything. We’ll see how this week goes. I’ll try to win the race again.”
It was a good start for Ethan Vernon (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl), too, ensuring that three British riders were in the top 10 on general classification after the opening day, but less good news for Chris Froome (Israel-Premier Tech), the four-time Tour de France winner, who finished in 119th spot after completing the short course 42sec slower than former team-mate Hayter.