Tour de Romandie: Chris Froome survives late scare to retain lead
Last Updated: 26/04/13 4:29pm
Ramunas Navardauskas, right, sprinted to victory on stage two
Chris Froome weathered a late storm to retain the overall lead of the Tour de Romandie as Ramunas Navardauskas claimed victory on stage two.
The day proved to be tougher than expected and saw the peloton blown apart on the final climb, the third-category Plagne.
With Froome temporarily reduced to just one Team Sky team-mate in Richie Porte, his rivals looked to capitalise and Robert Kiserlovski (RadioShack-Leopard), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar) all went on the attack on the tricky descent.
However, the bunch came back together heading into the finale in Granges, where Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) made a long bid for the line to claim victory over Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) and stage one winner Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step).
Froome remains six seconds ahead of the United States Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) in the general classification, with Kiserlovski 13 seconds adrift in third.
The Briton told teamsky.com afterwards: "I definitely felt the pressure on the last climb, but I would hope everyone felt the pressure."
A handful of short, sharp climbs punctuated the 190km route as bright sunshine bathed the Romandie region.
Three strong riders headed up the road as the race departed Prilly, with Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM), Marcus Burghardt (BMC Racing) and Matthias Brandle (IAM Cycling) combining well.
The gap was kept at just over four minutes as Team Sky set about controlling the stage by placing their riders at the head of the peloton.
Yet just as on stage one, the day featured a tough climb ahead of the finale, this time in the shape of the steep 7.5km Plagne ascent to test the legs of the sprinters.
Josh Edmondson (Team Sky) set the tempo on the climb as a number of sprinters, including Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step), were put into difficulty.
For the second day in succession, Rolland went on the attack, bringing Richie Porte, David López (Team Sky) and, finally, BMC Racing to the fore, before the peloton was blown apart.
With 18km to go, the big names made their move, but after a short descent, the flat run-in finally created the expected sprint finish.
Watch stage three on Friday live on Sky Sports 2 from 3pm
Stage two result
1 Ramunas Navardauskas (Lit) Garmin-Sharp, 4:51.49
2 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana, same time
3 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano, st
5 Dominic Nerz (Ger) BMC Racing, st
6 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana, st
7 Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Leopard, st
8 Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco, st
9 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEDGE, st
10 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida), st
1 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, 9:34.13
2 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp, +6secs
3 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack-Leopard), +13
4 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, +15
5 Rui Costa (Por) Movistar, +16
6 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ, +17
7 Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco, +18
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, same time
9 Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp, st
10 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco, st