UCI WorldTour: Froome back to his best at the Tour de Romandie
Chris Froome (Team Sky) got his season back on track and rose to thirteenth in the UCI WorldTour individual rankings with overall victory at the Tour de Romandie stage race in Switzerland.
Froome started the final time trial stage around Neuchatel one second behind race leader Simon Spilak (Katusha) but won the stage ahead of world time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and gained 29 seconds on Spilak to secure a second consecutive overall victory in the Swiss stage race. Spilak hung on to second place overall, with world road race champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) showing his stage race ability by finishing third overall.
Froome scored a total of 110 UCI WorldTour points thanks to his overall victory and stage placings at the Tour de Romandie, lifting him from 47th to 13th in the individual rankings. He now has a total of 151 points. Spilak rose from 29th to 10th and now has 167 points, while Costa climbed from 22nd to 11th with 160 points.
Spain’s Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) continues to lead the individual UCI WorldTour ranking after his success in the spring stage races. He has a total of 308 points, with recent Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Tour Down Under winner Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) second with 264 points. Fleche-Wallonne winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is third with 262 points.
Omega Pharma-QuickStep continues to dominate the team ranking with 700 points. Movistar is second with 568 points and Katusha is third with 529 points. Spain leads the nations ranking with 805 points. Belgium is second with 567 points and Australia is third with 516 points.
Back to his best
Froome has had a difficult spring but seemed back to his best at the Tour of Romandie. He attacked on the decisive mountain stage to distance his major Tour de France rival Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and then used his time trial skills to secure overall victory.
“I’m really happy to have this result. It was a close race. I didn’t feel confident, it was flat out and so it wasn’t easy,” Froome said.
“This year was a different race; there were no hilltop finishes, so it made the race difficult. The time trial was extremely hard; on a very tough circuit but I think the climb was good for me. But with one second to gain on Simon Spilak it was really difficult. He was strong in the mountains the other day and I wasn’t sure how it would go. I’m just so happy to be back in the yellow jersey. It’s a great feeling.”
“This has been difficult period for me, I had a chest infection and problems with my back, it’s not been easy but I’ve worked really hard to get back to this level. I’m really happy and now I just hope I can build on this to the Tour de France.”
The UCI WorldTour calendar continues in May with the Giro d’Italia, first Grand Tour of the season, that begins on May 9 in Northern Ireland and ends in Trieste, Italy on June 1.