Tour de Romandie – Stage 3 – Stef Clement «The stage was harder today because the race really started at 50 km to go»

30 April 2015

IAM Cycling

Tour de Romandie 2015

The Tour of Romandie is evidently a good match for Michael Albasini.  After having snagged three stage victories in 2014, the Orica GreenEDGE rider has already won himself two more stages, most recently with a convincing sprint into Porrentruy.  With this performance, the rider from the Thurgau region in Switzerland, extended his lead in the overall classification, thanks to the time bonuses on the line.  IAM Cycling had a good second stage where they were very visible thanks to performances by Jonathan Fumeaux and Jarlinson Pantano; for the third stage they remained ever vigilant in order to protect the team leader, Mathias Frank ahead of the toughest stages at the weekend.  This team duty did not prevent Fumeaux from defending his green jersey in the points classification or stop Pantano from flirting with another top-10 finish.  He managed 11th in the sprint.

Tour Down Under 2015

Stef Clement, the Swiss team’s road captain, worked hard to advise his teammates throughout the stage, after which he spoke of a tough day where the sun played hide-and-seek with the clouds, and there was even a bit of rain.  “During the briefing before the start, the stated goals were to stay warm in the bunch, remain alert, and protect Mathias Frank.  Everything worked perfectly, and we were close to getting another top-10 with Jarlinson Pantano, who was given a free hand to try what he liked in the final.  But the stage was harder today because the racing really started 50 kilometers from the finish.  And tomorrow’s stage looks equally hard, but with much worse weather.”

Thierry Marichal, directeur sportif along with Rik Verbrugghe, enjoyed watching the discipline of his riders.  “Team spirit is not an empty or meaningless term.  The guys have perfectly executed their instructions, and protected Mathias Frank.  We still had three guys surrounding him after cresting the two most difficult climbs.  And then Jarlinson Pantano tried his luck in the sprint, as he did yesterday.  Unfortunately, he found himself a little blocked in the last corner.  Under these circumstances, it was not really possible for him to go for the win anymore.  Now it’s important to recover well because the next stages will be very difficult.  The arrival in Fribourg is expected to be accompanied with heavy rainfall, which will make the bunch even more nervous.  And of course the queen stage on Saturday followed by the time trial on Sunday will give the best the chance to make the overall difference”