Tour de Romandie

Rabon grabs prologue victory in Romandie

Photo: courtesy

Photo: courtesy

Frantisek Rabon has taken a close but convincing victory in the Tour of Romandie prologue in Switzerland.

The 25-year-old Czech time trial specialist had never before taken a prologue win, but on Tuesday’s course he was two seconds faster than Sandy Casar of France, with Spain’s Alejandro Valverde in third.

Riding as the reigning Czech national time trial champion, Rabon was victorious on the  3.1-kilometre prologue through the streets of Lausanne, Switzerland.  His win is the Columbia-Highroad men’s team’s 19th of the season and the second for Rabon in 2009 after he took stage three of the Tour of Murcia in Spain.

Rabon’s victory in Romandie also means Columbia-Highroad has taken the prologue of the Swiss ProTour race for two years running. Last year Mark Cavendish won the same opening stage.  “To be honest I was targeting the top ten, nothing better,” Rabon said afterwards.  “When I got the fastest time, I sat down and wondered which of the last guys off, maybe [Fabian] Cancellara, maybe [teammate] Mark [Cavendish], would beat it.  This race is very much for the guys who are preparing for the Tour of Italy, and I thought one of them would have a better chance.”

“But it didn’t happen, continued Rabon.  “Maybe I should have been more hopeful because I’ve had some good results in time trials this year, a win in Murcia and a third place in time trials both in the Criterium International and in the Circuite de la Sarthe.  Even though I pulled out of Liege-Bastogne-Liege and was a bit disappointed about that, I knew my condition had been good before then.  The course itself on Tuesday was supposed to be completely flat, but in fact it was trickier than that, with one kilometre flat, one kilometre downhill, and one up!  But I went full gas anyway, there was no point in doing anything else because it was so short, and it worked out.”

“We’ll see what happens next.   I’ve ridden Romandie two times before and I know the climbs a bit.  In any case I’ll go all out and try to defend my lead for as long as possible and the best I possibly can.”

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