The sixth WorldTour stage race of the season got underway on Tuesday in Lausanne with a short but intense effort. The riders of the Groupama-FDJ cycling team then launched their week of racing with a five-kilometre prologue, and Rudy Molard proved to be the fastest of them today, finishing twenty-six seconds behind British winner Ethan Hayter. A very hilly first stage will be on the menu tomorrow.

The lovely city of Lausanne hosted the “Grand Départ” of the Tour de Romandie this Tuesday. However, the riders lining up in Switzerland did not have the chance to ride along the lake during their quick, solitary effort, contested over just 5120 meters on the heights of the city. “It was a demanding course technically speaking, but it was also very hard due to this long, slightly uphill straight road on the airport, which made the exercise even more difficult”, said Philippe Mauduit. On home soil, Matteo Badilatti and Sébastien Reichenbach were the first ones to tackle this prologue, before 4 p.m. Anthony Roux, Quentin Pacher, Rudy Molard, Michael Storer and Thibaut Pinot then followed one after the other on the launch pad, twenty minutes apart. At the end of a short afternoon of racing, Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) eventually took the victory with a time of 5’52’’, while Rudy Molard got the highest rank for the team, twenty-six seconds behind. Thibaut Pinot and Michael Storer conceded a bit more than half a minute.

“Tomorrow will suit us more”, Philippe Mauduit

“It was a difficult day for us today”, added Philippe. “Let’s face it, we did not have a great stage, but there are no particular lessons to learn from it. It was a very special, very intense effort. I think the guys lacked a bit of explosiveness, which may seem normal after the Tour of the Alps or Liège-Bastogne-Liège”. Barely after completing the prologue, the team was already thinking about Wednesday’s first road stage, featuring an undulating profile and an uphill finish (one kilometre averaging 7%). “I think tomorrow will suit us more, and the following days also”, said Philippe. “We know tomorrow’s area pretty well, the team won there with David Gaudu three years ago. It gives us some ideas. We’ll need to build the team spirit for the week to come but also to be opportunistic in the final”.

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