Tour de Romandie stage 3: Brandon McNulty takes time trial victory

US champion produces a blistering ride and benefits from dry conditions, as his UAE teammate Juan Ayuso takes yellow jersey on a rain-soaked afternoon in Switzerland

Clock15:41, Friday 26th April 2024
Brandon McNulty is enjoying a fine season in the stars and stripes of American national time trial champion

© Getty Images

Brandon McNulty is enjoying a fine season in the stars and stripes of American national time trial champion

The US national time trial champion Brandon McNulty rode to his second individual TT victory of the season, winning stage 3 of the Tour de Romandie on Friday afternoon. McNulty's victory was UAE Team Emirates' fourth against the clock in as many months, as the WorldTeam continue to impress in the discipline.

McNulty had been the 11th rider off the start ramp in Oron and made the most of the dry early conditions, crossing the line of the 15.5km-long course in 20:06, with an average speed of 46.24kph.

Behind the American, Ineos Grenadiers' Magnus Sheffield finished second, just 12 seconds down on McNulty's time, and Felix Großschartner (also UAE Team Emirates) rounded out the day's top three some 14 seconds behind his teammate and stage winner.

The rain came to define the final hour of racing, with many of the key stage contenders forced to deal with slippy roads under the gloomy skies.

Aside from Sheffield, among the GC riders who impressed were Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos Grenadiers), Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) and last year's stage winner Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) - fourth place on the day.

"It's nice, I didn't know what to expect after the last few days so we had a good ride and maybe I was a bit lucky with the weather, but it is nice to have a win," McNulty said after the finish.

"I was lucky to be in the dry so it's a bit strange because you never really know if you were the fastest, but you're always happy with a win."

As Thibau Nys (Lidl-Trek) admitted shortly after winning stage 2, the young Belgian did not have the capabilities to defend his yellow jersey and passed over the race leadership to Ayuso in the time trial.

"I think it was a very hard TT, everybody suffered. All my teammates when they came back to the bus told me that it was pretty hard, so I was mentally ready for it. I didn't have great sensations, I also suffered a lot," new race leader Ayuso said to Eurosport during his warm-down.

But I think I managed to control my effort and know where to push and where to try and recover a little bit. Especially in the wet the downhill was quite tricky, there I gained some time because I took some risks and I think I am in a good position to try and defend [the jersey] tomorrow."

Read more: Talking the issue of self-confidence and UAE’s crowded leadership with Brandon McNulty

Suprise faces come to the fore and GC gains a reshuffling

Much will naturally be written about McNulty's performance, which saw him take his third-time trial victory of the season, should you also include UAE Team Emirates' team-time trial success at Paris-Nice. But alongside the American, his compatriot Magnus Sheffield produced one of the best rides of the day to finish second.

Still just 22 years of age, Sheffield made his name as a future Classics star when he won De Brabantse Pijl in 2022, but two years on, the American is beginning to test his legs as a GC talent in his own right. Sheffield has been offered a free hand by Ineos Grenadiers at the Tour de Romandie and suitably delivered on Friday afternoon.

His teammate Thymen Arensman continued his build-up to the Giro d'Italia with a solid performance to place 11th on the day, whilst a few unexpected riders found themselves in the top 10.

Johan Price-Pejtersen of Bahrain Victorious was a handy time trialist as a youngster but delivered his best performance since last year's Tour de Suisse to place sixth, whilst Carlos Rodríguez of Ineos Grenadiers capitalised on a strong day for the British team to finish sixth.

The Spaniard is an excellent climber and will begin this summer's Tour de France as one of the team's designated leaders, but he has never been a noted time trialist, so this performance to take him fourth overall will give the team a boost.

As for the rest of the general classification, Soudal Quick-Step's Ilan Van Wilder is up to second after placing ninth on the day, with Aleksandr Vlasov moving up to third overall. The pair are both within 10 seconds of Ayuso's lead heading into the final two stages.

Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ), Florian Lipowitz (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) are all positioned well thanks to their performances, whilst Luke Plapp (Jayco AlUla) dropped to seventh after a disappointing ride aboard a new, unreleased Giant time trial bike.

In terms of the day's losers, both Adam and Simon Yates (UAE Team Emirates and Jayco AlUla, respectively) struggled in the wet and dropped to outside of 50 seconds from the yellow jersey, as have Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost) and David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ).

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

Race Results

1

us flag

MCNULTY Brandon

UAE Team Emirates

20' 06"

2

us flag

SHEFFIELD Magnus

INEOS Grenadiers

+ 13"

3

at flag

GROSSSCHARTNER Felix

UAE Team Emirates

+ 15"

4

es flag

AYUSO Juan

UAE Team Emirates

+ 21"

5

fr flag

ARMIRAIL Bruno

Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team

+ 23"

6

dk flag

PRICE-PEJTERSEN Johan

Bahrain Victorious

+ 24"

7

es flag

RODRIGUEZ Carlos

INEOS Grenadiers

+ 28"

8

ru flag

VLASOV Aleksandr

BORA-hansgrohe

+ 30"

9

be flag

VAN WILDER Ilan

Soudal Quick-Step

"

10

fr flag

THOMAS Benjamin

Cofidis

+ 32"

Provided by FirstCycling

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