Germany’s Marcel Kittel claimed the weather-curtailed first stage of the Tour de Romandie in a sprint finish on Wednesday.
The start was scheduled for La Chaux-de-Fonds but with the threat of ice and hail the riders started from Mathon, reducing the circuit to 100 kilometres.
Kittel (Etixx) saw off Italy’s Niccolo Bonifazio by half a wheel length with Swiss rider Michael Albasini in third.
Spaniard Ion Izagirre retained the lead in the overall standings after his surprise success in Tuesday’s prologue.
Wednesday’s shortened ride was lit up by Sander Armée’s breakaway with the Belgian rider only caught 13km from the finish.
The 27-year-old Kittel capitalised on the work of his teammates in the closing kilometres and reacted quickly when Albasini made the first burst for the line.
“I didn’t have my usual teammates around me as Etixx have mainly selected climbers for this race. But that didn’t stop them from doing excellent work,” said Kittel.
“They can also be proud of this success.”
Thursday’s second stage is a 173.9km ride from Moudon to the 1350m altitude finish at Morgins, near Switzerland’s border with France.
Results of the Tour de Romandie first stage, a 100.5km ride from La Chaux-de-Fond to Moudon on Wednesday:
1. Marcel Kittel (GER/ETI) 2hr 27min 46sec, 2. Niccolo Bonifazio (ITA/TRE) at 0:00, 3. Michael Albasini (SUI/ORI) 0:00, 4. Tosh Van der Sande (BEL/LOT) 0:00, 5. Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU/CAN) 0:00, 6. Davide Cimolai (ITA/LAM) 0:00, 7. Samuel Dumoulin (FRA/ALM) 0:00, 8. Enrico Gasparotto (ITA/AJW) 0:00, 9. Kristian Sbaragli (ITA/DDT) 0:00, 10. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) 0:00.
16. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) 0:00, 22. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 0:00, 34. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 0:00, 36. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 0:00, 37. Ion Izagirre (ESP/MOV) 0:00, 48. Richie Porte (AUS/BMC) 0:00.
1. Ion Izagirre (ESP/MOV) 2hr 33min 19sec, 2. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) at 0:06sec, 3. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 0:07, 4. Gorka Izagirre (ESP/MOV) 0:08, 5. Moreno Moser (ITA/CAN) 0:09, 6. Reto Hollenstein (SUI/IAM) 0:11, 7. Louis Vervaeke (BEL/LOT) 0:11, 8. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 0:11, 9. Martijn Keizer (NED/LNL) 0:12, 10. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 0:12
12. Marcel Kittel (GER/ETI) 0:13, 16. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 0:16, 31. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) 0:20, 54. Rigoberto Uran (COL/CAN) 0:26., 55. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 0:26, 59. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/TRE) 0:27, 68. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) 0:30, 87. Richie Porte (AUS/BMC) 0:37.
– Agence France-Presse