Jan Tratnik edged out Slovenian compatriot and reigning champion Primož Roglič in the Tour de Romandie’s time trial prologue in Neuchâtel, Switzerland on Tuesday. Roglič has taken two WorldTour stage races this year, the UAE Tour and Tirreno-Adriatico, and put himself in good position to retain his title. Michael Woods was 63rd, a mere 15-seconds behind Tratnik.
The opening time trial was of classic prologue length: 3.87-km, with enough corners to keep riders awake. A cobbled climb marked the middle of the route.
⏲️ Official start at 14h59 pic.twitter.com/rPqcSUbsCD
— Lotto Soudal (@Lotto_Soudal) April 30, 2019
New world hour record holder Victor Campernaerts (Belgium/Lotto-Soudal) was expected to be high on the leader board, but unfortunately he crashed and finished last.
— Mihai Cazacu (@faustocoppi60) April 30, 2019
Woods was six seconds off of early leader Cameron Meyer’s intermediate time of 2:53, and finished with 5:21.
Rui Costa (Portugal/UAE Team Emirates) nudged Meyer off the hot seat with 5:11. It took about 15-minutes until chrono ace Tony Martin (Germany/Jumbo-Visma) clipped Costa by a second.
Kilian Frankiny (Switzerland/Groupama-FDJ) nearly came a cropper of an oblivious dog walker.
— Équipe Cycliste Groupama-FDJ (@GroupamaFDJ) April 30, 2019
A Swiss rider, Tom Bohli of UAE-Team Emirates, usurped Martin’s throne with 5:07. In quick succession, Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) posted the fastest time before his compatriot Tratnik (Bahrain-Merida) overcame it.
The day’s podium was Tratnik, Roglič and Bohli, with Martin missing out on the steps by three seconds.
Movistar’s Colombian Carlos Betancur, who once came fifth in the Giro d’Italia and won the 2014 Paris-Nice, threw his casquette in the GC ring with a ninth place time. Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos), Felix Grossschartner (Austria/Bora-Hansgrohe), Steven Kruijswijk (The Netherlands/Jumbo-Visma and David Gaudu (France/Groupama-FDJ) also posted good times, but the gaps were small among all the GC riders.
Wednesday’s route features six Cat. 2 climbs. Cue Thomas De Gendt.
2019 Tour de Romandie Prologue
1) Jan Tratnik (Slovenia/Bahraim-Merida) 5:06
2) Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) +0:01
3) Tom Bohli (Switzerland/UAE-Team Emirates) s.t.
63) Michael Woods (Canada/EF Education First) +0:15