Britain’s 2008 Olympic team pursuit track cycling champion Geraint Thomas won the Tour of Romandie prologue in Lausanne on Tuesday while last year’s winner, Australia’s Tour de France champion Cadel Evans, finished 20 seconds off the pace.
Thomas, who earlier this month collected a third track cycling world title in the team pursuit, was favored by more clement weather conditions than Evans encountered on the 3.34km course as he came in a time of 3 minutes 29.43 seconds.
The 25-year-old Sky rider — whose most notable road race win was in the Tour of Bavaria last year — edged out Italy’s Giacomo Nizzolo and fellow Briton Mark Cavendish for first place.
“I always knew that I had a good chance,” Thomas said.
“But it’s one thing knowing that you have a good chance and another thing winning. It’s very nice. Obviously the weather played a big part in that, but there was only really one corner and you can only lose so much time — but it’s great to win and at a lovely race as well,” he said.
The Welshman said that having achieved his target in Lausanne he would help Cavendish and Paris-Nice winner Bradley Wiggins for the remainder of the race.
“Today was an objective as it’s similar to the track, but for the rest of the race I’ll help Cav in the sprints on which ever stages come down to that and then look after Bradley,” he said.
“He’s here to do a good ride on the GC [general classification]. The team have come here with big ambitions looking to do well every day and hopefully we can get a few more stage wins and Brad can pull off the GC,” Thomas said.
“The team has stepped up a level each year now. As we saw in Paris-Nice it is a strong team,” he said.
While Evans failed to cope with the driving rain another of his major rivals for the race title, Wiggins, shaped up better finishing 11th, just nine seconds off Thomas’ winning time.
Yesterday’s first scheduled stage was a 184.5km ride from Morges to La Chaux-de-Fonds which takes in several climbs, notably col des Bugnenets and col de la Tourne.