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Roche limits TT losses but drops to 34th in GC

Posted 30 April 2010

Nicolas Roche’s fears of losing time in the today’s individual time trial at the Tour de Romandie were not misplaced with the AG2R La Mondiale rider dropping to 34th in GC just 1:24 down on new race leader Michael Rogers.

The 23.4 kilometre course was always going to shake up the GC and the surprise package on the day was 24 year old neo-pro Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) who set an early benchmark with a stage winning time of 30:54.

Roche did well to limit his losses to 1:55 on the stage, finishing 49th, and he remains very much in contention as the race heads in two decisive days in the mountains.

Porte’s winning time was 28 seconds quicker than Michael Rogers (HTC Columbia) whose fifth place was enough to see him take over the race lead from Peter Sagan (Liquigas Doimo) who conceded 1:35, dropping to 19th in GC at 54 seconds.

Rogers holds a two second lead over Alejandro Valverdre (Caisse d’Epargne) whose time of 31:20 was the closest to Porte, while Vladimir Karpet’s time of 31:21 was enough for third on both the stage and GC with the Katusha rider now just 5 seconds off the race lead.

Valverdre showed early signs of toppling Porte’s spectacular performance when he set the fastest time of the day at the 7.1 kilometre intermediate checkpoint, clocking 12.58.

The Spaniard, like Roche who started late in the afternoon, had to contend with a slight headwind over the next 12.9 kilometre flat run to the town of Rossenges and faded slightly on the 3.4 kilometre descent to the finish in Moudon.

Italian time trial champion Marco Pinotti (HTC Columbia) was unable to reproduce the form that won him the prologue. He was 32 seconds down on Valverde at the checkpoint and dropped out of the top three to 16th in GC having lost 1:22 to Porte.

Francaise des Jeux’s Jeremy Roy, who had been lying third overall, finished seven seconds behind Pinotti with his performance consigning him to 14th in GC at 47 seconds.

Defending champion Roman Kreuziger also had a bad day losing 1:26 on the stage and now carries a minute’s deficit into the weekend’s two mountainous stages.

Rabobank’s Denis Menchov proved that he coming back into form and his time of 31:25 moved him up to fifth in GC just nine seconds behind Rogers, while Radioshack’s Janez Brajkovic also had a good day moving up twenty places to sixth in GC where he carries a 15 second deficit.

Porte, who had the misfortune of crashing in the first corner of Tuesday’s prologue, said afterwards that his win was a massive surprise and credited his Directeur Sportif and former time trial specialist Bradley McGee for guiding him to success.

“I trained with Bradley McGee. He is an idol for me and I just listened to everything he said and hey look what’s happened.

“I was 30 seconds down after the first time check on some big names and then the wind must have changed or something because I had a fast last half of the time trial. It’s so unbelievable.

“The course was perfect for me. I am a small guy and quite aero. I had Bradley McGee in the car behind me and there is not too many guys that time trial like Bradley. He was the brains behind this. I just pedaled the bike,” he said.

Result

Tour de Romandie, Stage 3, Moudon-Moudon, ITT, 23.4 kilometres

1. Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) 30 minutes, 54 seconds
2. Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) at 26 seconds
3. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) at 27 seconds

49. Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) at 1 minute 55 seconds

General Classification after Stage 3:

1. Michael Rogers (HTC Columbia) 9 hours, 56 minutes and 3 seconds
2. Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) at 2 seconds
3. Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) at 5 seconds

34. Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) at 1 minute, 24 seconds

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