Howson secures top-20 overall as the Tour de Romandie concludes

Sun 5 May 2019

Australian Damien Howson ended a tough week of racing in Switzerland with 19th overall as the Tour de Romandie concluded with a time trial around Geneva.

Multiple track world champion Cameron Meyer took 20th on the stage to end the day as the team’s top finisher, bookending the race with two strong performances on the TT bike.

Starting the day in 19th place on the general classification, Howson negotiated the 16.85-kilometres course in a time of 21’11” to take 31st on the day and hold onto his top 20 place overall.

Flat and Fast

Youngster Callum Scotson was the first rider up for Mitchelton-SCOTT and the neo-pro put in a solid display as he crossed the line with a time of 21’34”. Veteran Michael Albasini was the next man home for the squad and the local man rolled home with a time of 21’46” over the fast and flowing course.

Meyer took a top 10 place in the opening stage prologue and the Australian set another strong time on the final day of action, coming home one minute down on the fastest time set, eventually finishing 20th.

Ethiopian time trial champion Tsgabu Grmay was the penultimate rider off the start ramp for Mitchelton-SCOTT, but the flat course around Geneva didn’t suit the 27-year-old as he ended the day in 74th.

Final Act

Howson was the last rider to take to the course for the depleted five-man squad, with the Australian looking to put in a strong performance to round out a solid week of racing in Switzerland. The flat course wasn’t particularly favourable to the 26-year-old as he powered through the streets of Geneva, but it was enough to secure 19th on the GC.

It was then a case of waiting to see how the remaining runners fared before the stage and the overall general classification would be decided, with race leader Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) cementing the top spot by winning the stage and taking the overall.

Damien Howson:
“Today I just wanted to go through the motions and try and put yesterday’s disappointment behind me by doing a time trial today as if yesterday kind of didn’t happen.”

“It was a really nice course here in Geneva, it had a bit of everything, really nice roads and it was scenic as well. Personally, I just tried to ride the best TT I could as if I was still contending for the overall and I think that worked, I think it was a solid effort in the end.”

“I was hoping for a little bit more from the week, but I can still be happy with two top 10 finishes on two stages. Obviously having Sam (Bewley) and Dion (Smith) leave early in the race, it’s never easy having less riders, but the rest of the guys did an amazing effort throughout the race which I’m very grateful for, so we have to be happy.”  

Laurenzeo Lapage (Sports Director):
"We came here with Damien for the overall, but obviously we had some bad luck before the race started by losing Sam, who was our captain on the road and then we lost Dion too, so that didn’t help us for sure."

"But even though we were just five guys, they all worked well together and followed the plan each day, so that was really nice to see and we gave Damien the best chance we could to get a strong result overall."

Unfortunately, the Queen stage didn’t work out like what Damien had hoped for or what we had hoped for and that was key for the GC, but it was still a solid week of racing for us, so we are happy enough with what we did here."

Tour de Romandie Stage 5 Results:
1. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) 19:58
2. Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) +0:13
20. Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:00

Tour de Romandie General Classification:
1. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) 15:25:11
2. Rui Costa (UAE Team-Emirates) +0:49
19. Damien Howson (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +3:32

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.