Two crashes marred the closing kilometres of stage three of the Tour de Romandie, as Stefan Küng’s breakaway dreams were brought crashing down to Earth on a slippery descent into the finish, before Rohan Dennis also fell, his GC lead evaporating in the dour conditions.
The Groupama-FDJ rider had made the day’s breakaway, braving the pouring rain to get up the road, before accelerating at the foot of the penultimate climb, dragging only Lotto-Soudal’s Kobe Goossens with him as the peloton loomed only half a minute behind.
On the resulting descent with under 15km to go until the line, Küng started backing off slightly, a small gap beginning to open up between him and the Belgian, before the Swiss rider made the cardinal sin of crossing a white road marking in the rain, the time trial specialist then coming down heavily on the bend.
The wet surface ensured he slid into a grassy bank at the side of the road, skimming up over it and landing with a thud.
Thankfully, Küng seemed alright, rushing back to his bike, but his hopes of a stage victory lying in tatters.
Goossens was soon on the final climb of the day on his own and was brought back into the fold after the attacks in the peloton from the likes of Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation), Ion Izagirre (Astana – Premier Tech) and Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma).
Soon, word came through that race leader Rohan Dennis (Ineos Grenadiers) had also fallen, the crash not caught on camera, but the rider suffering a large grave to his upper leg.
Marc Soler then attacked, solo-ing away from the group to take the stage win by 22 seconds, assuming the race lead from Dennis, the Movistar man now holding a 14-second lead over the Australian’s team-mate Geraint Thomas.