Porte wins Tour of Romandie; fi'zi:k's Syndicate beast Lourdes!

It was a brilliant weekend for fi’zi:k riders, with victory on the road in Switzerland and Yorkshire, and the fastest runs on the dirt in France.

Richie Porte, aboard his fi’zi:k Arione R1 saddle and competing for BMC Racing, has won the Tour of Romandie after a powerful performance on Sunday’s final stage – a 17.8km time trial around the streets of Lausanne.

Porte needed to make up 19 seconds on overnight leader Simon Yates. On paper, the Australian time-trial champion looked the strongest and so it proved, as the 32-year-old had already overhauled Yates’ overall lead by the 6.5km intermediate checkpoint.

Come the finish line, Porte’s 25:06mins rolled in 40 seconds faster than Yates’ effort to give Porte the overall title, albeit he lost out on the day’s stage victory by 8 seconds to Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic. But that mattered little to Porte, as he added the Tour of Romandie title to the Tour Down Under he won in January.

‘I didn’t think I’d be able to claw that much time back,’ Porte said after the race. ‘I tip my hat to my teammates for all the work they’ve done this week.’ Porte’s race-winning team included Tejay van Garderen (fi’zi:k Aliante VSX saddle), who finished third in the time trial to elevate him to sixth overall and set him up nicely for the 100th Giro d’Italia, which starts in Sardinia on Friday.

Over in England, an equally thrilling race played out at the Tour de Yorkshire. Sprinter Caleb Ewan held GC going into Sunday’s third and final stage but with a series of hills punctuating the 194.5km course from Bradford to Sheffield, the winner was always going to come from elsewhere…

…and that ‘elsewhere’ was Team Dimension Data as Serge Pauwels (fi’zi:k Antares R1) led home teammate Omar Fraile (fi’zi:k Arione R1) for the stage win, after a fantastic piece of teamwork to manage a breakaway and capitalise on it, which gave Pauwels overall victory, too.

‘Omar’s been a fantastic roommate this week,’ said Pauwels. ‘He basically gave me the victory today. That makes him a great person.’

Meanwhile, in France, Santa Cruz Syndicate – the leading downhill team, now using fi’zi:k saddles – got the UCI Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup off to a flying start, with the opening race of the season seeing the team’s two youngsters, Loris Vergier (FRA) and Luca Shaw (USA) qualifying first and third respectively on their 29ers, showing triple World Champion team-mate Greg Minnaar (RSA, sixth) and the rest of the world class field the way.

The race itself became a wash-out, with terrible weather ruining the runs for the top-ten riders and making a nonsense of the results. So while we’re enjoying the closing stages of the Giro d’Italia with our road teams, on the 20-21st May we look forward to the next outing for the new fi’zi:k-equipped Santa Cruz Syndicate in the Czech Republic.