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press releases 02.05.2014, 22:19
Tour de Romandie. Simon Spilak earns stage win and leader’s jersey

Coming into the finish line in Aigle, Simon Špilak out-sprinted the reigning Tour de France champion to win by half a wheel length and take over the leader’s jersey after stage 3 in the 68th Tour de Romandie on Friday.

Simon Špilak:It was a very difficult stage today with the rain, but I like it when it rains, and the cold doesn’t bother me either. In the beginning of the stage I did not feel very well, because it was a high pace and the mountains were really hard. But in the second part of the stage I felt much better. Besides, our team was very strong today. We had good team communication and work during the whole stage and especially in the final climb, at the most decisive moment. I saw the moment when Chris Froome attacked and I knew I had to follow him because it was the right moment. I did not force and took my own pace to reach Nibali and then Froome. I had a good collaboration with Chris on the climb and after on the dangerous descent. I was concentrating on the race and thought only about the current situation. Of course, I thought about the victory, but Chris Froome is a strong rival and I am happy I took the stage victory in the sprint.”

- The team was perfect today; in the final climb we had 4 riders in the leading group. Sergei Chernetckii and Egor Silin worked very well in front to prepare the place for attack of Simon. After it, when Simon went together with Froome, Iurii Trofimov was strong to stay in the chasing group and to catch the attacks of the rivals. So, it was an impressive teamwork and a perfect race from Simon, who was really strong today, -said sports director of Team Katusha, Dmitry Konyshev.

The 3rd stage of Tour de Romandie became the queen’s stage of the race – the distance of 180,2 km between Le Bouveret and Aigle included 4 climbs of 1st category with the top of the last one was situated just with 16 km to the finish line.

At 25km to go Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) attacked, quickly followed by Chistopher Froome (Sky) and then Špilak. Nibali didn’t last long in his effort, but Špilak and Froome put time and distance between themselves and the chasers as they crested the final climb Villars-sur-Ollon. Full cooperation followed on the technical descent and drive to the finish line before setting up the sprint with 500m to go.

Simon Špilak timed his sprint perfectly, coming around the last corner and staying just in front of Froome to take the win. Rui Costa from Lampre took third at 57-seconds behind.

Together with the stage victory thanks to the time bonuses Simon Spilak took the yellow jersey of the GC leader with 1 second of advantage ahead of Froome. Rui Costa who is currently 3rd, has +1.02.

- This is a great pleasure for me to wear the yellow jersey after such a great stage as today. We still have two days in front of us with the decisive time trial on Sunday. Of course, myself and the entire team will do our best to try to hold the lead and to win the race. It won’t be easy at all because Froome and other riders are really strong, but we will do all we can for it, - added Simon.

Two stages remain in the Tour de Romandie – Saturday’s road stage at 173 km in Fribourg and the final 18,5 km time trial on Sunday.

Photo credit: (c) Tim De Waele