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Josef Cerny (Soudal-QuickStep) took victory by the slimmest of margins on the Tour de Romandie prologue in Port-Valais, the Czech time trial specialist setting a time of seven:25 to edge out World Champion Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) by simply 0.29 seconds on the finish of the 6.82km stage.
The Norwegian simply missed out on his first win within the rainbow bands, his effort concluding a minute of late drama after Cerny’s teammate Rémi Cavagna crossed the road at 0.97 seconds all the way down to take third place.
Cerny’s win is his first ever at a WorldTour time trial, and his second at a WorldTour race after his solo effort in Asti on the 2019 Giro d’Italia. The 29-year-old was the one man to common over 50 kph on the out-and-back course alongside the Rhône River, placing him into the primary yellow jersey of the race.
“Ultimately I did fairly a pleasant prologue, however the consequence was in a single second for 3 guys, so it was actually tight,” Cerny stated after the stage. “I’m tremendous completely happy that I’m the fortunate one at this time and that I can take pleasure in this win.
“I work arduous so it’s not likely a shock. But it surely’s good groups and good names beginning right here so I wasn’t actually the favorite, however I used to be very assured, and I used to be considering that I might be within the high 10 or high 5. Victory is one thing very nice for me. It was actually fast, actually painful, however now I’m actually happy, and I’ll take pleasure in it.
“I believe will probably be arduous for a dash [tomorrow], however I believe we are able to maintain [yellow] and we’ll see for the opposite days.”
The way it unfolded
Cerny had been within the chief’s sizzling seat for nearly an hour by the point the ultimate riders headed down the beginning ramp and onto the course. Because the 107th rider of 154 to tackle the prologue, he had few actual challenges to his time forward of the ultimate runners.
Earlier than Foss and Cavagna set out, Joel Suter (Tudor Professional Biking) and Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) had run Cerny the closest, setting instances of seven:30, whereas Matteo Sobrero (Jayco-AlUla) was additionally pretty shut at 7:34.
Earlier within the day, Ivo Oliveira (UAE Group Emirates) had set the early operating, additionally with a time of seven:34. Nico Denz (Bora-Hansgrohe) was the one rider to edge him out earlier than Cerny got here alongside, the German recording a fast time of seven:29 to finish up fourth on the finish of the day.
Within the final gasps of the prologue, Cavagna and Foss sped house, however their efforts fell agonisingly wanting the win, leaving Cerny to take pleasure in an eleventh profession victory.
“It’s all the time painful,” Foss stated of his time trial effort. “I additionally haven’t had the very best final weeks, battling some bug within the abdomen. It was a correct lengthy opener at this time. I discovered a superb rhythm and had good teaching from the automotive. I do know I can all the time compete up there so that provides motivation. Sadly, I didn’t have that further share.
“It’s by no means good to lose when it’s so shut however I gave my all at this time. I’m proud of that. There’s a time trial later within the week that may go well with me higher.”
By way of the GC favourites, the standings stay shut after the brief opener. Juan Ayuso (UAE Group Emirates) got here off greatest on his season debut following a protracted battle with a nerve harm in his leg. The younger Spaniard lies thirteenth at 12 seconds down.
Fausto Masnada (Soudal-QuickStep) and Romain Bardet (Group DSM) comply with at three and 4 seconds additional again, whereas Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) lies at 18 seconds down.
British twins Adam Yates (UAE Group Emirates) and Simon Yates (Jayco-AlUla) got here house 19 and 20 seconds down, whereas Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe) is an extra six seconds down.
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