Tour de Romandie: Knox ventures in the breakaway
James Knox showed tons of grit and determination on the queen stage of the Swiss race as he produced a strong ride – his most impressive since returning from injury last month – on the relentless queen stage between Aigle and Zinal. The appetizing course contained more than 3000 vertical meters and six classified climbs, most of them stacked in the last 90 kilometers, and lent itself to long-range attacks, but the GC favourites decided to wait until the final 400 meters to attempt something.
For his part, James delivered an awesome load of work in the large breakaway group, which he split with a well-timed attack the first time up Les Pontis. Joined by four men, the Brit continued to put himself in the pain cave, contributing to the small group’s three-minute advantage over a bunch that properly ignited the chase on Les Ziettes d’en Bas, the fourth ranked ascent of the 180.1km stage.
As they began climbing Les Pontis again, Knox accelerated and made an important selection, only two riders matching his surge in pace. Eventually, the valiant and generous effort produced during the entire stage began being felt in the legs, and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s rider was caught by the reduced peloton some 15 kilometers from the finish, where Sergio Higuita (Bora-hansgrohe) prevailed.
“It was a very difficult day. I didn’t have any stress at the start, so I thought it would be fun to go u the road. It wasn’t a challenge for the stage, it was more to test the legs a bit. I am happy with how I felt, especially after my crash on the second day of the race. In the end, I didn’t have the legs to remain at the front, as I was completely empty, but I am happy with my ride and with the confidence it gives me for the next races”, James said at the finish.
Photo credit: ©Dario Belingheri / Getty Images