Morgins - Colombia's Nairo Quintana seized control of the Tour de Romandie by
winning Thursday's second stage in Morgins after defending champion
Ilnur Zakarin was stripped of his victory.
Quintana, who was jostling with fellow escapee Zakarin in a sprint
finish, crossed the line in second behind the Russian, before the
Katusha rider was downgraded by race officials for interfering with his
"Zakarin would have won anyway but he boxed me in. I'm not commenting on the decision of the judges," said Quintana.
"It's not easy to win here given the plateau. Being able to do so is a very good sign."
The pair finished 26 seconds ahead of a group headed by Portugal's
Rui Costa, with Rigoberto Uran and Thibaut Pinot also clocking the same
time in the Swiss mountain village.
Podium hopefuls Rafal Majka, Bauke Mollema and 2010 winner Simon
Spilak all finished together as well, but American Tejay van Garderen
lost over a minute.
Chris Froome's hopes of a third title - after wins in 2013 and 2014 - went up in smoke as the Briton was slowed by a puncture 20 kilometres
from the finish and found himself well off the pace even before the
final climb of the 174km route from Moudon, the Tour de France champion
finishing over 17 minutes in arrears.
Quintana, who was second to Froome at last year's Tour, took over the
leader's jersey from Ion Izagirre and goes into Friday's 15.1km
individual time trial around Sion with an 18-second advantage over
Results from the Tour de Romandie second stage, a 173.9km ride from Moudon to Morgins on Thursday:
1. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 4hr 26min 40sec, 2. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) same time, 3. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) at 26 sec, 4. Rigoberto Uran (COL/CAN) s.t., 5. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 6. Ion Izagirre (ESP/MOV) s.t., 7. Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) s.t., 8. Mathias Frank (SUI/IAM) s.t., 9. Pierre Rolland (FRA/CAN) s.t., 10. Simon Spilak (SLO/KAT) s.t.
11. Bauke Mollema (NED/TRE) s.t., 16. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) 57, 19. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) s.t., 20. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 1:01, 99. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 17:30.
1. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 7hr 02min 05sec, 2. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) at 18sec, 3. Ion Izagirre (ESP/MOV) 20, 4. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 32, 5. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) 36, 6. Mathias Frank (SUI/IAM) 37, 7. Simon Spilak (SLO/KAT) 42, 8. Pierre Rolland (FRA/CAN) 43, 9. Bauke Mollema (NED/TRE) 44, 10. Rigoberto Uran (COL/CAN) 46.
12. Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) 47, 13. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) 57, 14. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 58, 16. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 1:06, 93. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 17:50.