On Friday, the individual time trial in Oron created the first real gaps of the 2024 Tour de Romandie. In this third stage, the favorites did not benefit from the same weather conditions of the day’s winner, Brandon McNulty, but still put in a great fight against the clock. Lenny Martinez performed very well and took sixteenth place, which put him in fifth position overall, twenty-three seconds behind the new leader Juan Ayuso. On Saturday, 3,500 meters of elevation gain are on the riders’ menu towards the summit finish in Leysin.

In the aftermath of a first summit finish without any major moves, the GC leaders had to leave everything on the road this Friday on the Tour de Romandie. Around Oron, the 15.5-kilometer time trial was set to be a crucial stage and the terrain was ideal for a great battle. “It was really a very nice route,” explained Nicolas Boisson. “We started straight away with a nice climb (1.8 km at 6.5%). The second part was also challenging, with small hills which were still quite painful. Finally, there were two nice descents which were made more technical than what we had seen at the recon on Monday due to the weather.” While the first two thirds of the riders were able to tackle the track on a dry road, the rain came a little later. Thibaud Gruel and Enzo Paleni delivered solid performances before the weather turned bad, then the GC riders began to set off around 4:30 p.m. David Gaudu took the start at 4:43 p.m. and finished twenty-one minutes and forty-four seconds later, 1’37 behind McNulty. “He immediately felt on the rollers that he didn’t have the best legs,” said Nicolas. “I told him to ignore it and that the feelings on the road could be different. But from the bottom of the climb, after 500 metres, he felt that it was going to be a hard day for him. Unfortunately, it was”.

“Everything remains possible”, Nicolas Boisson

Lenny Martinez tackled the course a few moments later, with much better feelings. This allowed him to enter the top-15 at the intermediate time check, and then to grab 16th place at the finish, 44 seconds behind McNulty but only 24 behind the best of his GC rivals, Juan Ayuso. “I’m happy with my time trial,” said the young man. “The effort was practically over before the last downhill, then it was mainly controlling the bike and not losing too much speed. We also had to think about the weekend and not take all the risks.”Lenny did a good time trial,” confirmed Nicolas. “We were very satisfied at the time check, then he managed the descent well. It’s a good sixteenth place, just like last year right here in Romandie. It’s always good to make it into the top-20 of a WorldTour time trial. It could have been better if everyone had the same conditions, but the goal was above all to be close to the favorites, which Lenny managed to do. This bodes well for tomorrow.” Thanks to his performance, the French climber moved up to fifth position overall, just twenty-three seconds behind Ayuso. “He’s on target, everything remains possible,” added Nicolas. “Tomorrow’s stage is hard on paper, but we’ll have to see how the race develops. We asked the other riders to go easy on the time trial today because we will need them tomorrow. The team really has good momentum this week and is motivated to finish this Tour de Romandie well.”

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