Lausanne - Katusha cyclist Ilnur Zakarin of Russia has won the Tour of Romandie
in Lausanne on Sunday holding off Britain's two-time defending champion
Chris Froome in the closing individual time-trial.
Zakarin had taken the race leader's yellow jersey at the end of
Saturday's fifth stage but Sky star Froome had been expected to be too
strong on Sunday.
The 17.3-kilometre time-trial in the streets of the Swiss town was won by German specialist Tony Martin of Katusha.
whose previous best results never suggested he could be a contender in a
race of this quality, even overcame a technical problem which obliged
him to change bikes five kilometres from the finish to take the
Froome, whose main target this season is to
regain his Tour de France title he surrendered last year when he crashed
out, failed to fire in the time-trial but he was far from dejected at
not retaining his crown.
"I am not disappointed," the 29-year-old Kenya-born rider told Swiss television station RTS afterwards.
"I know it is a long season and we still have two months till the start of the Tour de France.
am now going to go off on a training camp at altitude before competing
in the Dauphine (a traditional warm-up race for the Tour)."
for his part was astonished at Zakarin's performance -- the 2007
European junior time-trial champion still managed to only finish 13
seconds behind the German in the time-trial despite his changing bikes.
"I am very surprised by his performance today notably because of his changing bike," said Martin.
"Already yesterday I was surprised (Zakarin finished second in a tough mountain stage). I didn't know of him before."