Tour de Romandie: Chris Froome wraps up victory as Tony Martin wins last stage
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: 28/04/13 3:24pm
Chris Froome claimed overall victory ahead of Simon Spilak, left, and Rui Costa, right
Chris Froome underlined his status as favourite for this summer's Tour de France by wrapping up victory at the Tour de Romandie with a third-place finish in the race-ending individual time trial in Geneva.
The Team Sky rider stopped the clock on an 18km course in 21 minutes 41 seconds, 34 seconds down on winner Tony Martin, the world time trial champion.
It was enough to see Froome top the general classification, 54 seconds ahead of Simon Spilak in second and 1min 49sec in front of Rui Costa in third.
Froome said afterwards: "It has been a really good week for us. I am really happy with my condition now in the build-up to the Tour de France.
"Every race I do now is a good test for me, to see exactly where my condition is and what I need to work on. It has been a really good experience for me this week.
"It is definitely a good omen, but the Tour is still two months away and I need to do a lot of hard training before then."
The victory was Froome's third stage-race win of the season, after his triumphs at the Tour of Oman in February and Criterium International in March. It also replicated Sir Bradley Wiggins's win in Romandie last summer, which was a key stepping stone towards claiming the yellow jersey in Paris two months later. Cadel Evans also won Romandie in the build-up to his Tour triumph in 2011.
Froome had led in Switzerland from the start after winning Tuesday's prologue and went into the final day defending a 47-second lead over Spilak (Katusha), who had rocketed up the general classification with victory on stage four.
The time trial took place over a flat course on the banks of Lake Geneva and after Svein Tuft (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) had both posted fast times, Italy's Adriano Malori (Lampre-Merida) staked a strong claim for the stage win by stopping the clock in 21min 23sec.
Martin (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) then blew that away with a supreme time of 21min 7sec, but after he had seen a solo attack fail the previous day, the German was too far back on the general classification for it to threaten Froome's yellow jersey.
Leaving the start ramp two minutes after Spilak, Froome was three seconds faster than the 26-year-old Slovenian at the intermediate checkpoint and although he could not get near Martin or Malori's marks, he extended that to a race-securing seven seconds at the finish line.
Martin said: "The goal was to win today. I had hopes for the GC but it was a mistake to attack yesterday, so I was full of aggression [today]. I put everything in my legs today and I am happy with the victory.
"The course was not complicated. It was totally flat. I knew that I had to give 100 per cent right from the start."
Stage five result
1 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, 21:07
2 Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +16secs
3 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, +34
4 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM, +36
5 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha, +41
6 Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco, +50
7 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, +52
8 Mads Christensen (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff, +55
Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp, +56
10 Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Argos-Shimano, +1:01
Final general classification
1 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, 19:24:51
2 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha, +54secs
3 Rui Costa (Por) Movistar, +1:49
4 Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp, +1:54
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco, +2:03
6 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +2:14
7 Jurgen van den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol, +2:16
8 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, +2:31
9 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +2:32
10 Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling, +2:41