Michael Albasini of Switzerland won a shortened first stage in front of his home fans on the Tour of Romandie on Wednesday.
The scheduled 203km ride between Ascona and Sion was reduced to just 88 kilometres from Bigerbrad because of snow on the Simplon Pass, and Orica-Greenedge rider Albasini triumphed in a sprint after 2hr 11min 11sec ahead of Spain’s Jesus Herrada and Lithuania’s Ramunas Navardauskas.
After what was the first Swiss win in the race for 10 years, Albasini told local television: “The objective was to win a stage, and I have already done it. But you can’t ever settle for what you’ve got, you must always want to win.”
Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland, who won the prologue in Ascona on Tuesday, retained the overall race lead but he is only five seconds ahead of Albasini.
Britain’s Chris Froome, who won the Tour of Romandie last year before going on to win the Tour de France, is 10th overall, 14 seconds off the pace.
Thursday’s second stage will be 166.5km from Sion to Montreux, which is likely to finish in a sprint and so could favour Albasini once again.
The six-day event concludes on Sunday.