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Tour de Romandie. Stage 3. Davide Villella takes top 10 in Romont, Nikita Stalnov active in the breakaway

After an intense uphill finish in Romont, Davide Villella was able to claim the eighth place in stage 3 of Tour de Romandie. Kazakh rider Nikita Stalnov was part of the day’s breakaway, but he and his five companions got caught in the final twenty kilometers of the race. Frenchman David Gaudu won the stage, Primoz Roglic is still leading the overall classification. 

- I felt strong today and I was lucky to avoid the crash in the final, with just 600 meters to go. From that point, I was at the front and I did my sprint but I didn’t have the legs to win the stage today. Tomorrow will be a hard day, but we will try our best for a good result. This race is a good final test for me before going to the Giro d’Italia, I’m feeling good so I’m looking forward to that race as well, - said Davide Villela.

- I felt good today and was motivated to attack. Before the stage, we planned to go in the breakaway, so we were active from the first kilometers. When a group of riders broke away with a small gap we tried to follow them, firstly with Jonas Gregaard and later with Davide Villella. At this moment I worked in front of the group to reduce the gap and to give my teammates a chance to bridge across the escapees. Finally, the main group split into parts and it took some time to come back together. At that moment the first break went away. But later when the gap came down to just a minute, I was able to attack and to join those riders in front. I hoped we could have a chance to do it until the end like yesterday, but the peloton never gave us too much space. It’s a pity because I felt really strong today. Anyway, it was a good test for me, - said Nikita Stalnov.

A 160 kilometers today with start and finish in Romont, with a total of 2763 meters of climbing. After the break was able to make it to the finish at stage 2, this time the peloton controlled the initial breakaway of seven riders. After two riders decided to return to the peloton, Nikita Stalnov attacked and joined the five leaders. This group was able to create an advantage of maximum 1’50” on the controlling bunch.

They got caught with 18 kilometers to go. A reduced group went for the uphill finish, with David Gaudu being the strongest rider of the day. Merhawi Kudus was in a good position for the final climb, but he got blocked because of a crash in front of him. Davide Villella was the first rider to ride through the final turn, but he got overtaken in the final hundred meters of the race, finishing eighth in the end.

Tomorrow is the Queen Stage of the 2019 Tour de Romandie, riding 176 kilometers from Lucens to Torgon to finish atop a 1st category climb, the fifth categorized climb of the day.


Photo: ©Getty Images

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