• Michael Albasini celebrates his stage victory which puts him into the race lead (Getty Images)
Orica-GreenEDGE's Michael Albasini has sprinted his way into the Tour de Romandie race lead after winning Stage 2.
By
Cycling Central

30 Apr 2015 - 7:48 AM  UPDATED 30 Apr 2015 - 8:54 AM

The Swiss rider held-off Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling) and Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick-Step) at the stage finish in Saint-Imier, with Australia's Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin) in fourth. A group of 50 riders contested the finish after cresting the final climb together.

“I actually was hurting a lot on the second last climb out here in Saint-Imier,” said Albasini who won three stages in last year's race.

“But (the final climb) was quite a regular climb. After a really fast first part, the second part was more regular and I could stay in the bunch so I knew I had a good chance in the sprint.”

“I placed myself well, I always like a little fight going on and I was maybe a little bit too far in the front too early so I was happy the guys from Garmin came around me and I could jump on them.

“Still I had to do a long long sprint so I was happy to keep (the lead).”

The victory is consolation for Orica-GreenEDGE after the team finished second to Sky in the opening team time trial by less than one second.

“It was disappointing yesterday so I am super happy that we can have the first win today,” Albasini said. “It makes it a little bit better for the 0.63 of a second we lost yesterday.”        

Overnight leader Geraint Thomas (Sky) suffered a puncture with 22 kilometres to go, at the base of the Vue des Alpes. Despite assistance from team-mate Peter Kennaugh he was never able to rejoin the front of the race, eventually finishing over four minutes down.

Attacks on the final climb - including ones by Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) - failed to force a selection at the front of the race.  Astana’s Rein Taaramae eventually managed to forge a slim lead, but a huge effort by Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick-Step) ensured he was caught with two kilometres to go to set up a sprint finish.

Albasini holds a 10 second lead over Chris Froome (Sky) with his team-mates Ivan Santaromita and Simon Yates also on the same time.

Stage 2: 168.1km, Apples - Saint-Imier
1 Michael Albasini (SWI) Orica-GreenEDGE 4hr 21min 43sec    
2 Jarlinson Pantano (COL) IAM Cycling         
3 Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) Etixx-Quick-Step         
4 Nathan Haas (AUS) Cannondale-Garmin     
5 Rui Costa (POR) Lampre-Merida         
6 Damiano Caruso (ITA) BMC Racing         
7 Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) Katusha         
8 Ivan Santaromita (ITA) Orica-GreenEDGE         
9 Jan Bakelants (BEL) AG2R La Mondiale         
10 Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU) Cannondale-Garmin

General Classification
1 Michael Albasini (SWI) Orica-GreenEDGE 4hr 42min 52sec    
2 Ivan Santaromita (ITA) Orica-GreenEDGE 0:00:10    
3 Christopher Froome (GBR) Sky         
4 Simon Yates (GBR) Orica-GreenEDGE         
5 Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) Katusha 0:00:15    
6 Pavel Kochetkov (RUS) Katusha         
7 Egor Silin (RUS) Katusha         
8 Yury Trofimov (RUS) Katusha         
9 Simon Spilak (SLO) Katusha         
10 Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) Etixx-Quick-Step 0:00:20