Etixx - Quick-Step rider Julian Alaphilippe finished 2nd at the 3rd Stage of Tour de Romandie on Thursday, as Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE) was able to launch off the French rider's wheel and was able to win the 173.2km stage.
Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing Team) was 3rd. Alaphilippe's teammate's Tony Martin and Rigoberto Uran moved up just in time for the leadout inside the final kilometer. As a result of a well positioned leadout, Uran also placed 7th.
The peloton was reduced to less than 80 riders with the undulating parcours. Stage 3 included four categorized climbs. However, the summit of the final categorized climb was at 25.1km to go and then there was flat or descending roads leading into the finishing straight, which was slightly uphill at 2.25% gradient. There was non-stop attacking in the final kilometers after two riders out of an original three-rider breakaway were caught with 48km remaining. However, none of those attacks lasted long.
Julian Alaphilippe continues to show his form as a young rider, having finished 2nd in two Ardennes Classics and 3rd in the previous stage of Tour de Romandie.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to Stage 4, 169.8km in total distance, on Friday. The stage is up-and-down, but with only three ascents that are categorized, and none higher than Category Two. The roads after the last climb (Category 3) descend into a flat final 4 kilometers, and then the finishing few hundred meters are slightly downhill. Sprinters could have their say in this stage.
Etixx - Quick-Step had a well organized leadout training going into the final few kilometers of 160km Stage 5 of Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey on Thursday, but few late race attacks at about 1km to go, and a slightly uphill finish, resulted in a small group deciding the stage with small gaps behind them.
Davide Appollonio (Androni Giocattoli) was the first to attack with 1.2km to go, and then Michal Kolar (Tinkoff-Saxo) went off the front and almost held his advantage until the line. But Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) went on to win the stage out of a small group with a slight gap on the rest of the field. Carlos Barbero (Caja Rural) was 2nd, and Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo) 3rd. Kolar was 4th.
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck did an incredible job for Etixx - Quick-Step yet again. The Belgian rider worked all day on the front and then used up all he had left in his legs in support of the leadout before finally dropping off at 3.6km to go in the stage. Etixx - Quick-Step had a full leadout for Mark Cavendish, but the attacks and the uphill slope of the finish thwarted plans for a bunch arrival.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to Stage 6 on Friday, which is another crucial day for the overall contenders. The 184km stage features the Category 1 finish in Selcuk, which is at an 8% average gradient inside about the final 5 kilometers of racing.more information
Julian Alaphilippe continues to be a protagonist in the peloton, as he finished 3rd in the 166.1km group arrival of Tour de Romandie Stage 2 on Wednesday. Tony Martin did an outstanding job bringing back breakaways in the final kilometers, and then keeping the French rider at the front of the peloton inside the final kilometer of the race. Rigoberto Uran also helped his 22-year-old temmate as his final leadout man.
Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE) won the stage. Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling) was 2nd.
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) suffered a mechanical in a key moment in the leader's jersey and was unable to rejoin the peloton. As a result, Albasini is now the race leader. Alaphilippe is currently the top rider in the GC for Etixx - Quick-Step, in 10th place (+20"). Uran and Martin are 11th and 12th (+24").
The breakaway was caught with 22.7km to go, but attacks continued. Rein Taaramae (Astana) was the last rider able to get a gap on the field, but he was brought back with 2.4km remaining. Martin was a key rider in controlling the race and putting Alaphilippe into good position. Alaphilippe launched his sprint after a leadout from Uran in the top 5 positions of the peloton.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to Stage 3 on Thursday. Stage 3 is up-and-down, with four categorized climbs to deal with in the 172.5km stage. However, the summit of the final categorized climb is at 25.1km to go and then there is flat or descending roads leading into the finishing straight, which is slightly uphill at 2.25% gradient.
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Tom Boonen was the top finisher for the team, in 72nd place on Wednesday, as the team was unable to maintain contact with the peloton over the last climb of the 132km Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey 4th Stage from Fethiye to Marmaris.
Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) won the stage. Daniele Colli (Nippo - Vini Fantini) was 2nd, and Daniele Ratto (UnitedHealthcare) was 3rd. The peloton caught six leaders with 11.5km to go in the race, but the last uncategorized climb, with the top at just a few kilometer before the finish, caused a significant number of riders to lose contact with the bunch. About 55 riiders decided the stage.
Mark Cavendish was one of the riders unable to make it over the top, along with his teammates. But the British rider who won the first two stages remains in the Points Jersey with 30 points, which is the same number of points as Ratto in 2nd.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to Stage 5. There will be 159.9km to cover from start to finish, and the race crests the top of the toughest climb (Category 2) of the day at the 74.9km mark. However, the finish is a short but punchy uphill.more information
Etixx - Quick-Step finished 4th in the 19.2km opening TTT of Tour de Romandie on Tuesday, finishing with a time of 21'33 (53.457 km/h), which was 14" down on winner Team Sky (21'19"). Sky bested the time of Orica-GreenEDGE as the last team on the road by less than a second.
Katusha finished 3rd (+05").
The parcours of the TTT from Vallée du Joux to Juraparc was mostly flat and not technical until the 2.2km to go point, when the riders had to climb Col du Mont d'Orzeires, which averages 2.5 percent. There was then a descent for the last 750 meters.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to Stage 2 on Wednesday. The stage is 168.1km in distance and features three Category 2 climbs, as well as a Category 3 climb. The final categorized climb of the day, Col de Vue des Alpes (8km, 6.7% average gradient, max ramp 9%), ends at 17.2km to go in the race. This race could end up with some fireworks in the finale with all the climbing taking some energy from the legs of the peloton.more information