After several physical problems weighed down his season start, Branislau Samoilau started today to confirm the abilities that appointed him beforehand as one of the Movistar Team riders to follow up in 2011.
The Belarusian caught the 3rd place in the first road stage of the 65th Tour de Romandie, the only mountain-top finish in this year’s Swiss stagerace, after taking a long 170k breakaway to the end, the East rider escaping alongside day’s winner Brutt (KAT), Kvachuk (LAM) and Bobridge (GRM). The race was held into a hard parcours with two Cat. 1 climbs in the final 25 kilometers of the stage, and after making the summit of the Col du Pillon, Samoilau went ahead along with Brutt, to whom he could not follow through the 4k mark. Despite being overtaken in the final kilometer by Kvachuk, Samoilau managed to keep the strength of the pursuit group down to hold on to his third place, a minute over the short field where Movistar Team culminated an outstanding overall performance, with a very active Beñat Intxausti (6th), David López (9th) and Rui Costa (24th) within the twenty riders up-front.
The telephone squad sit this way on top of the overal classification, with four riders into the best 30 –Samoilau, 3rd; Intxausti, 10th; López, 16th; and Rui Costa, relegated due to yesterday’s crash- and keep a strong position on the teams’ rankings, in second place just few seconds behind the leaders. Another hard stage will be covered tomorrow, with a 171km loop around Romont and a short, yet difficult pass through Le Gibloux (Cat. 1) 16k from the 900m finishing slope to the finish.