Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE) made it two from two by sprinting to victory on stage two of the Tour de Romandie, moving into the overall lead in the process.
The Swiss rider, who had become the first of his countrymen to win a stage in Romandie for ten years on stage one, outsprinted previous leader Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), moving into the overall lead thanks to the bonus seconds earned on the line.
Despite starting his sprint some way behind Kwiatkowski, Albasini took the wheel of Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing), outsprinting the Italian fastman and Kwiatkowski to win for the second stage running.
After the shortened route for stage one had played host to an incident and attack-filled race, stage two was a much more straightforward affair.
Swiss duo Martin Kohler (BMC Racing) and Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling) got themselves into the day’s break in their home country, quickly establishing a big lead.
With little response from the peloton, the two escapees were allowed to build a lead which topped 13 minutes at his maximum.
Omega Pharma-Quickstep led the bunch, easing the pace of the pursuit for much of the day.
Team Sky, active towards the front on stage one, also lent a hand while Orica-GreenEDGE hit the front inside the final 50 kilometres in a bid to trim the bunch on the second of the day’s two category-three climbs.
A move by Belkin’s Jack Bobridge forced the pace to increase on the lower ramps of the climb, but the two leaders still had almost four and a half minutes as they crested.
Lang led the way over the top to wrestle the pink jersey from the shoulders of his team-mate Johan Tschopp but their lead was soon cut as several teams took charge at the front of the bunch.
Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) and Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) both lost touch with the bunch, but it was still a large group leading the way when Omega Pharma-Quickstep returned to the front inside the final 30 kilometres.
Belkin also lent a hand but the day’s sedate pace remained, the gap to the two leaders having been cut to less than two minutes.
With Stef Clement, Jack Bobridge and Tony Martin providing the horsepower for the chase, the two escapees remained at a manageable distance as the run-in to Montreux drew ever closer.
As the gap tumbled to less than a minute, the GC contenders – Nico Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Chris Froome (Team Sky) among them – came forward, fighting for a safe road position.
Roche briefly attacked, but his advantage was short-lived as Lampre-Merida took over responsibility at the front – catching the two escapees with three kilometres to go.
Attacks from the peloton started immediately, but with the pace finally upped nobody managed to earn much of a gap.
Tony Martin hit the front with Kwiatkowski in tow, leading the way into the final 500 metres, with the Pole leading out a long one.
But Albasini came out of the wheels on the left-hand side, taking the stage victory and securing sufficient bonus seconds to move into the race lead.
Tour de Romandie 2014: stage two – result
1) Michael Albasini (SUI) – Orica-GreenEDGE – 4.12.22hrs
2) Tony Hurel (FRA) – ST
3) Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA) – Trek Factory Racing
4) Alexey Tsatevitch (RUS)
5) Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep
6) Maxim Iglinskiy (KAZ) – Astana
7) Tosh van der Sande (BEL) – Lotto-Belisol
8) Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU) – Garmin-Sharp
9) Danilo Wyss (SUI) –
10) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky
General classification (provisional)
1) Michael Albasini (SUI) – Orica-GreenEDGE – 6.29.50hrs
2) Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep +5”
3) Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU) – Garmin-Sharp +10”
4) Jesus Herrada (ESP) – Movistar +11”
5) Matthias Brandle (AUT) – IAM Cycling +12”
6) Rohan Dennis (AUS) – Garmin-Sharp +13”
7) Tony Martin (GER) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep +14”
8) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky +19”