ORICA-GreenEDGE agonisingly close in Romandie TTT

Tue 28 Apr 2015

ORICA-GreenEDGE has come agonisingly close to a victory in the opening team time trial at the Tour de Romandie, pipped by less than a second by Team Sky.

As the Australian outfit crossed the finish line, they had the fastest time by 40seconds to Cannondale-Garmin with eight teams still to come.

They remained in the hot seat until the final team of the day, defending champions Team Sky, who stopped the clock just 0.6 of a second faster to steal the honours.

“In the instant it’s really extremely disappointing to lose by so little,” sport director Neil Stephens said. “But then when you sit back and analyse it, you think well we did everything correctly.”

“The start was good, the middle was good and the climb was good. No one under-performed. What we wanted to do we achieved, it’s just that Sky achieved it marginally better.

“We have lost some pretty important time trials by less than a second but the fact is that we have won some pretty important time trials by less than a second as well. This one was one of the losses, but we are looking forward to getting a couple of team time trial wins in the belt throughout the year, one of them hopefully next month and another towards the end of the year.”

The two teams were evenly matched for the whole 19.2km course, posting the same intermediate split time of 16’09 and going into tomorrow’s second stage equal on 21’19.

Crossing the line first for ORICA-GreenEDGE ahead of teammates Simon Gerrans, Svein Tuft, Ivan Santaromita and Simon Yates, Michael Albasini sits second overall behind Geraint Thomas (Team Sky).

The finishing five the result of some calculated strategies by the team.

“We wanted to get off to a strong start and get right on top of things early which we did, making the turns a little bit shorter at the start to make sure we didn’t drop the pace,” Stephens said. “Then towards the middle section everyone was riding really well, it was a faultless effort.”

“The drag up to the finish might not seem that hard but after going around 55kmph throughout the ride, it takes its toll. The big guys in Sam Bewley and Brett Lancaster finished their jobs into the foot of the climb and Michael Hepburn gave it one last big turn as it started.

“The short straw was drawn by Svein Tuft who really had to push along the flat but he also needed to get over the climb to have five at the finish, so he had a fanstastic ride.

“We left it with the smaller guys who we knew would get up the climb better. Just over the top of the climb everyone was right on the limit but it was another faultless effort right through to the line.”

The Tour de Romandie continues tomorrow with a punchy 168.1km stage two from Apples to Saint-Imier.