Basque sensation wins prologue in La Chaux-de-Fonds, crowns magnificent opening day for Movistar Team with yellow jersey + 5th for Gorka; Andrey in 13th, Nairo ahead of many pre-race GC contenders in 18th
Ion Izagirre has shown again why he's considered one of Spain's biggest talents in cycling by claiming a convincing win in the 2016 Tour de Romandie prologue, a 3.95km up-and-down course in La Chaux-de-Fonds with a tricky descent, some serious ramps and unmerciful weather. The 27-year-old Basque allrounder managed like no other into that situation, with a sensational descent following his 2nd quickest time through the intermediate point at the Côte de la Route de la Montagne -only beaten by Belgian youngster Louis Vervaeke (LTS)- that turned into an impressive 5'33", out of reach for all his rivals. Tom Dumoulin (TGA) was the nearest contender at 6", with Michael Kwiatkowski (SKY) rounding off the podium at 7”.
The fantastic opening day for the squad directed by José Luis Arrieta and José Luis Laguía was complete with four of its members into the day's top 20: Gorka Izagirre was 5º; Andrey Amador came in 13th spot at the beginning of his last pre-Giro contest and Nairo Quintana, 4th over the intermediate, still managed to claim the 18th place despite going as safe as he could through the wet downhill. The Blues' solidness will be at stake from tomorrow's 167km trek towards Moudon -three categorized climbs on the route-, in a race with almost no respite for the GC guys.
Ion Izagirre: "I knew my condition was still great after the classics and this result is a happy confirmation of that. We checked the course at noon today and I really liked it, with that short, sharp climb followed by the technical descent, through the small houses before the finish. It all turned out well and we're so happy to get this win. I was doubtful about which bike should I bring into this course, the road race one or the TT one – but I saw Gorka doing great on the Speedmax and I took a last-minute change, when I was already set to start with the traditional one. To be honest, my brother played a big part in this victory, with those good time checks – he was fantastic. Now it's time to enjoy this victory; we don't know how the week will go. We've got a strong team, with Nairo always on good form, Andrey testing his legs before the Giro… Let's hope we can keep this jersey!"