Sonny Colbrelli secured Bahrain Victorious their first World Tour win of 2021 with victory on Stage 2 of the Tour de Romandie. Patrick Bevin (Israel Start–Up Nation) was second and Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) made up the podium.
Rohan Dennis retains the race lead, but the six bonus seconds for Bevin on the line sees him leapfrog Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte into second on GC.
Ineos Grenadiers - with Dennis, Thomas and Porte stationed in the top three spots on GC – set out to control the pace at the front of the yellow jersey group for much of the day, and allowed a six-man break go 27km into the race; their gap hitting over two minutes at one point.
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Rein Taaramäe (Wanty–Gobert Matériaux), a winner of stages at the Giro and Vuelta, distanced the other five riders - Chris Hamilton (DSM), Davide Villella (Movistar), Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain Victorious), Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education–Nippo) and Antwan Tolhoek (Jumbo–Visma) – at the base of the penultimate climb up the category two Les Pontins as he looked to secure a first win of the year for his team.
The 34-year-old had an advantage of one minute and 43 seconds ahead of the final climb of the day - the category one La Vue-des-Alpes - but cracked halfway up and was reabsorbed.
Despite the stage containing five categorised climbs, there was little in the form of attacks from the GC contenders until the final ascent of the day, when Michael Woods (Israel Start–Up Nation), Kenny Elissonde (Trek–Segafredo) and Sepp Kuss (Jumbo–Visma) made a move. However, race leader Dennis – as he did on the Stelvio at the Giro – worked for Thomas and Porte to neutralise the attack.
And the Australian remained at the front of a now 30-strong peloton on the descent into the finish as Hirschi, Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), Bevin and Colbrelli positioned themselves for a sprint finish.
And it was Colbrelli who showed his prowess in the reduced sprint to take the win, with the 10 bonus seconds moving him up to fifth on GC. Dennis, having worked for Thomas and Porte, remains in possession of the yellow jersey, with his team-mates now in third and fourth respectively.
‘We got no help but it was a perfect job’ – Dennis on Stage 2 efforts
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