Tour de Romandie stage 2: Thibau Nys claims first WorldTour win in uphill finish

Lidl-Trek's youngster takes the race lead as two riders from the day's breakaway make it to the finish, with Luke Plapp taking third place after attack on category 2 climb

Clock15:09, Thursday 25th April 2024
Thibau Nys is already a cyclo-cross star but is looking to build his name on the road

© Getty Images

Thibau Nys is already a cyclo-cross star but is looking to build his name on the road

Thibau Nys (Lidl-Trek) took the first WorldTour victory of his career as he sprinted to victory on the summit finish of stage 2 of the Tour de Romandie.

Nys had been in the day-long breakaway of seven riders, most of whom fell back to the peloton on the final climb. Only Nys and Andrea Vendrame (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale) made it to the finish ahead of the peloton, with the young Belgian outsprinting the Italian to the line.

Luke Plapp (Jayco AlUla) bridged from the peloton in the final 3km to join the leaders, and went early in the sprint to try and outfox the survivors from the breakaway, but faded towards the line and settled for third, though he took time on his GC rivals.

Nys moves into the race lead with three stages remaining, taking over from stage 1 winner Dorian Godon (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale).

Behind the top three, Florian Lipowitz (Bora-Hansgrohe) who had bridged alongside Plapp took third, whilst fifth place was contested by the charging peloton, with Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) crossing the line 16 seconds down on Nys as the peloton just left it slightly late to catch the escapees.

“I was so disappointed yesterday that I couldn’t really show my good legs, and then we made a plan to go in the break [today] if it was a strong one,” Nys said at the finish.

“I think I set up the break in the perfect moment, really strong guys, and I just tried to save as much energy as possible, but I didn’t really know what to expect, to be honest, because it’s the first time I’m in an early break in my career. Also, I didn’t really know the last climb and into the last corners and everything, so I must say a massive thanks to the team. They did a hell of a job in the car to guide me to the last kilometres.

“If you start thinking about [winning] that’s when everything can slip out of your hands,” he said about his confidence in the sprint. “I tried to stay cool and not risk anything and do everything at the right moment.”

Breakaway versus peloton on first summit finish of the race

With the stage looking fairly breakaway-friendly, there was a big fight to get into the day’s move, with attacks going for 20km before a group finally went. In the end, seven riders got away, made up of Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Thibau Nys (Lidl-Trek), Roger Adrià (Bora-Hansgrohe), Nikias Arndt (Bahrain-Victorious), Andrea Vendrame (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale), Sean Flynn (dsm-firmenich PostNL) and Xabier Azparren (Q36.5 Pro Cycling). They were quickly allowed to build up a lead of just over five minutes.

The race situation remained stable for the flat run-in towards the day’s two climbs, Les Mosses and the summit finish at Les Marécottes. Heading towards the climb, the peloton were gradually pegging the break’s lead back, but still giving them a good three minutes worth of an advantage as no one team really wanted to take up the chase.

Over the top of the climb, Flynn and Arndt were dropped from the front group, as their lead fell towards two minutes heading onto the descent and valley before the final uphill. In the peloton, it was Groupama-FDJ who were controlling things in the valley, trying to bring the leaders back, but the remaining five riders were working well and it proved a difficult task on the flat. With 25km to go, the gap was still at 2:50, and it actually went back over three minutes soon after.

Hitting the final climb with 8km to go, the gap quickly began to fall as the peloton basically sprinted into the base of the ascent, but there were still only a few kilometres left to close a two-minute gap. Azparren was the first to drop from the breakaway, leaving four up the road.

Heading into the final 4.5km, the gap was a minute, and there was quite a large number of riders still in the peloton, led by Ineos Grenadiers, Lidl-Trek and Jayco AlUla. Adrià was the next rider to be dropped from the break, whilst race leader Dorian Godon also dropped from the peloton. Vendrame and Nys then attacked at the front, briefly dropping Meurisse with 3km to go, but the Belgian made his way back on a flat section.

It was at this point that tentative attacks started in the peloton, kicked off by Simon Yates (Jayco AlUla), but nothing really went at first. The next move was from Yates’ teammate Luke Plapp, who took with him Florian Lipowitz (Bora-Hansgrohe) and this pair did get a gap. With 2km to go, the gap was 20 seconds, but Plapp and Lipowitz were charging towards the break, and made the junction just 500m later. Plapp flew past the breakaway riders and to the front, dropping Meurisse and Lipowitz whilst Vendrame and Nys stuck to his wheel.

These three came into the finale together to sprint it out for the win. Plapp tried to go early, launching with just over 300m to go, but the Australian just didn’t have the turn of speed needed to get a jump on the break duo, and when Nys and Vendrame opened up they soon got away from him. Nys quickly showed he was the fastest, and surged to the line in front of Vendrame to take victory on just his third day of road racing in 2024.

Nys now leads the general classification by four seconds over Vendrame, whilst Plapp has moved up to third, 22 seconds down on the race lead. The GC is starting to take shape now, with Juan Ayuso, Enric Mas (Movistar), Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) and Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) all now in the top 10. The race continues on Friday with a 15.5km time trial around Oron.

"My TT for the moment is not strong enough to keep [the leader's jersey], but I will enjoy my day in yellow tomorrow," Nys said.

For more of the latest from the professional peloton, visit our racing news page.

Race Results

1

be flag

NYS Thibau

Lidl-Trek

4H 02' 44"

2

it flag

VENDRAME Andrea

Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team

"

3

au flag

PLAPP Lucas

Team Jayco-AlUla

+ 4"

4

de flag

LIPOWITZ Florian

BORA-hansgrohe

+ 14"

5

es flag

AYUSO Juan

UAE Team Emirates

+ 16"

6

ru flag

VLASOV Aleksandr

BORA-hansgrohe

"

7

gb flag

YATES Adam

UAE Team Emirates

"

8

fr flag

MARTIN Guillaume

Cofidis

"

9

be flag

VAN WILDER Ilan

Soudal Quick-Step

"

10

fr flag

MARTINEZ Lenny

Groupama-FDJ

"

Provided by FirstCycling

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