Dennis crashes and loses Romandie yellow

·3-min read

Rohan Dennis saw his hopes of winning the Tour de Romandie go crashing as a painful spill on a rain-splattered third stage forced him to surrender the race leader's yellow jersey.

The Australian time trial specialist's magnificent tour in Switzerland hit the buffers in the last 12 kilometres of Friday's stage as he suffered a fall on a slippery descent which left him with a huge rip in his shorts and a nasty gash on his right thigh.

The spill, unseen by the race's TV cameras, meant the man from Adelaide had to remount and battle courageously to try to get back on terms with the main group.

Eventually, though, he came home one minute 21 seconds down on the stage winner and new race leader, Spain's Marc Soler.

After coming home in 45th place, his hopes of winning the race now gone, the disappointed Dennis summed up his frustration in two words, telling onlookers: "Binned it..."

He finished a minute behind the main peloton and after starting the day with an eight-second lead now finds himself a frustrating 23rd overall, 64 seconds behind Soler.

Yet despite his disappointment, the 30-year-old still has a big part to play in the race denouement as he'll be expected to work for his Ineos Grenadiers teammates, second-placed Geraint Thomas and third-placed Richie Porte.

Dennis received a glowing commendation for his selfless heroics from his star Australian compatriot Porte, who said: "Rohan, as he showed yesterday, is a huge team player.

"If he was there, he would have controlled things and he was already doing a job. So it's a massive shame (that he crashed) but it speaks volumes about the guy."

Former Tour de France winner Thomas said he was just behind Dennis when he crashed but just about managed to stay upright himself.

"We'd controlled it well, had one climb to go, and then on the descent before that, Rohan crashed," Thomas said.

"I had to make a little effort to get back to the front as we started the climb. Then there were a few attacks, but I got up there as easy as I could, trying not to do too much.

"We've still got me and Richie up there. It's all to play for."

Those two are indeed still in with a real chance of winning the race going into Saturday's mountainous Queen stage from Sion to Thyon and Sunday's time trial finale, as they're both just 14 seconds behind Movistar rider Soler and are superior riders against the clock.

But it was a big day for Soler, who took his chance in the rain to go for broke with 10km left of the 169km stage that started and finished in Estavayer.

His solo attack enabled him to power away and win the stage by 22 seconds from the main group that included Thomas and Porte.

"It's not a lot of time considering the Ineos riders are so strong in the time trial but we'll give it our maximum tomorrow," he shrugged.