Josef Cerny became the tenth different Soudal Quick-Step rider to put his name on the winners’ list of this season, after an impressive display of strength on the 6.8km flat course around Le Bouveret. The 29-year-old came at the start of the longest Tour de Romandie prologue in a decade with the hope of racking up a top 10 finish, but he exceeded any expectations by beating a host of specialists to net Soudal Quick-Step’s 20th victory of the year.
Multiple national champion of the discipline, Cerny averaged a whooping 55.17km/h despite the wet roads, setting a time of 7:25, which put him in the hot seat, where he remained for the slimmest of margins, only three tenths of a seconds separating him from runner-up Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma). Another Soudal Quick-Step rider, Rémi Cavagna, also came very close, concluding just a second behind his teammate. Our squad had three men in the top 10 at the end of the day, after Ethan Vernon – making his first appearance in a month – produced a solid effort to take the best young rider jersey.
Cerny, now the first Czech rider in 14 years to win a stage and wear the Tour de Romandie yellow jersey, was over the moon with his first World Tour victory in three years: “It was a fast course, but I gave everything and did a strong prologue. It was very close out there, but in the end I was the lucky one. I worked hard in the time trial, had good legs today and a very good bike, and now I’m happy with this win.”
“I wasn’t the favourite. I was hoping for a top 10 or a top 5 before the start, so to get the victory is just fantastic. It gives me a lot of joy to have the yellow jersey in such a prestigious race”, said Josef, who also leads the points and KOM classification.