Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka showed off the team colors nicely on the queen stage of Tour de Romandie. Youcef Reguigui was part of the early breakaway, while Natnael Berhane climbed with the favorites on the final climb.
Today’s stage was expected to be a matter for the GC favorites but that didn’t scare off Reguigui from attacking early on. Together with seven other riders, our fast Algerian, who finished 6th in the bunch sprint yesterday, quickly established a solid gap on the peloton. As the breakaway took on the last couple of climbs, the pack increased the speed and at the top of the penultimate ascent, only one rider was left at the front with a gap of one minute.
Berhane constantly stayed close to the GC favorites near the front of the peloton and our Eritrean climber did not disappoint on the final climb, which saw top favorite Chris Froome lose terrain early on. Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) took the stage win and the leader’s jersey, while Berhane finished in a group of pre-race favorites just one minute down in 18th place. In the general classification, Berhane is now 21st before Sunday’s final stage, an 18.3 km individual time trial in Lausanne.
Alex Sans Vega – sports director:
“Today, the plan was to put two riders up the road in case a big group got away but with only eight riders in front, it was enough just to have Youcef [Reguigui] up there. It meant he could get over the first big climb at the front and later help our climbers in the peloton. On the final climb, Natnael [Berhane] did very well again, while Merhawi [Kudus] unfortunately didn’t have a good day. Tomorrow, we will do our best to make Natnael finish in Top20 overall”.