One of the 10 riders to make it into the day's break, the Spanish climber finished the last stage of the World Tour event in 9th place.
The 70th Tour de Romandie was one of the toughest stage races of this Spring, not only because of the course, but also due to a serious outbreak of bad weather. Many riders suffered because of it and retired from the event, among those being Luxembourg champion Bob Jungels, third in the Sion individual time trial, and stage 1 winner Marcel Kittel, who came down with a cold following the winter-like weather on Saturday.
Carlos Verona was the one who flew the flag for Etixx – Quick-Step on the final day of the Swiss race (Ollon – Geneva, 177.4 km), attacking after less than 20 kilometers from the start. Shortly after, the talented 23-year-old was joined by Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge), Andrey Amador (Movistar), Sander Armee (Lotto-Soudal), Romain Bardet (AG2R), Jerome Coppel (IAM Cycling), Chris Froome (Team Sky), Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida), Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Moreno Moser (Cannodanel). Despite being such a strong group, their maximum advantage didn't exceed 2:30, as they were kept on a leash by a peloton who wanted the stage to end up in a bunch gallop.
Inside the final 20 kilometers, as the gap was dropping, the leading group split, only five men managing to stay at the front, Carlos – the best placed GC rider of the escapees – being one of those to make the cut. With the finish in Geneva looming on the horizon, they began to play cat and mouse, but no one could take a handful of seconds and go solo. Behind, the peloton was approaching, and came close to fight for the stage, missing on the win for just a matter of meters. Michael Albasini was victorious, outkicking of Andrey Amador and Wilco Kelderman, while Niccolo Bonifazio (Trek-Segafredo) won the sprint of the bunch.
Although caught by the pack in the closing meters of stage 5, Carlos Verona still had the energy to mix it up with the sprinters and finished in 9th position, recording his second World Tour top 10 of the season. In the general classification, won by Nairo Quintana (Movistar) ahead of Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and teammate Ion Izagirre, the Etixx – Quick-Step rider was 18th, a strong result which comes as extra confirmation of the improvement he has made since winter.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele