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by Shane Stokes
April 26, 2018
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Omar Fraile continued the recent success of the Astana team when he won stage one of the Tour de Romandie on Wednesday. The Spaniard was quickest in the select group sprint into Delémont, beating Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida), former world champion Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and 50 others.
“I am so happy with this win,” Fraile said. “After the Classics I did not feel great, but today everything went well and I managed to do a good stage. In the final part of the stage I’ve realized our group can come to the finish for a sprint, so Dario Cataldo and Jakob Fuglsang worked hard to chase all attacks and to bring me in front.”
Prologue winner Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) and runner-up Tom Bohli (BMC Racing Team) were two of those to lose contact. Matthews said afterwards that his team did a very good job of controlling the race to try to go for the stage. “Unfortunately when the hammer went down over the last climb I didn’t have the legs to go with it. Me, Simon and Louis tried to fight to get back but the gap was already too far and our chances were over.”
The day was a very lumpy one and this enabled Will Clarke (EF Education First-Drapac), Antoine Duchesne (Groupama-FDJ), Remy Mertz (Lotto Soudal), Marco Minnaard (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) and Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale) to build a lead of six minutes. Gougeard and Minnaard were the last to remain out front and were joined by Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) over the top, but they were hauled back on the descent.
Fraile took the sprint, while prologue third-place finisher Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) succeeded Matthews as race leader. He is level on time with Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) and four seconds ahead of Geraint Thomas (Team Sky).