Brett Lancaster Time Trials to Sixth in Tour of Romandie PrologueTue 29 Apr 2014
Brett Lancaster was the best-placed rider for ORICA-GreenEDGE in the Tour of Romandie prologue, stopping the clock at 6’28 after the 5.57 kilometre effort in Ascona. His ride was quickest amongst the early starters and proved good for sixth place by stage end. Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) continued to impress with his diversified skills, winning the prologue in 6’22 ahead of Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) and Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano).
“Today was a big deal for the guys getting ready for the Tour of Italy,” said Sport Director Neil Stephens. “The team time trial is a big goal for the team at the Giro, and any day on the time trial bikes is an important one for them. Brett Lancaster didn’t let us down. Sixth on the stage today was a really great result from him.”
“Svein Tuft and Michael Hepburn both had decent rides,” Stephens added. “It’s a shorter distance than either of them would prefer. Michael Hepburn might have lost some time in the corners but in the pure straights he was quite good.”
Cameron Meyer has made no secret of his general classification ambitions. While the six day tour serves as important preparation for the team’s Giro d’Italia campaign, it also represents an important stepping stone for Meyer who thrice finished in the top ten in week long stage races last season. The West Australian slotted into 16th place, 11” off the winning time set by Kwiatkowski. Meyer was in good company with Chris Froome (Team Sky) 1” ahead and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) 1” behind.
“I would call that a commendable ride from Cam,” said Stephens. “He’s come here to step into the general classification role. From what I could see, he’s up there amongst the contenders, just a little bit behind Froomey who starts as the pre-race favourite. Cam was around the mark today, which was a good start to his week.”
It was a day of three firsts for Mountain Bike World Champion Nino Schurter – first WorldTour race, first outing in ORICA-GreenEDGE colours and first time trial. The Swiss star had a highly respectable ride for a newcomer. He finished mid-pack in 88th place, 26” behind Kwiatkowski.
“This was his first time trial – ever in his career,” confirmed Stephens. “As you would expect, he was very nervous. He’s a Swiss rider in one of the biggest races in Switzerland. There’s a lot of press here interested in him, and I think that puts him a bit under pressure – not by the team but by himself and the media.”
“In terms of the time trial, I told him just to go out and enjoy it,” Stephens added. “He started out far too fast. He did the first two kilometres really quickly and actually passed the intermediate check point only a couple seconds slower than Brett. The difference there was that Brett continued on at the same clip to the finish while Nino lost 20” in the second half. It’s very normal. I tend to think he’s glad to have gotten that out of the way.”
Bad weather is brewing around the Simplon Pass that is meant to feature in the middle of stage one on Wednesday. Race organisers have discussed potential course changes given the forecast in an effort to avoid putting the peloton in undue danger due to severe weather.
“We’re not sure what’s going to happen yet,” said Stephens. “We’re still waiting on a final decision on what the stage will look like tomorrow. The weather is currently taking a turn, and the tomorrow’s stage includes a 2,000 metre pass. We’ve been told that a decision will be taken at 8AM tomorrow morning.”