Froome survived heavy pressure from his rivals to finish the 190.3km stage from Ouest Lausannois with his six-second advantage still intact. But it was Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) who beat Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) of Italy and Belgium’s Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) in a sprint finish to the line in Granges.
Andrew Talansky of the United States is six seconds behind Froome, Team Sky’s leader for the upcoming Tour de France, in the overall classification, with the Croatian Robert Kiserlovski (RadioShack-Leopard) a further seven seconds behind.
Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM), Marcus Burghardt (BMC Racing) and Matthias Brandle (IAM Cycling) combined well when leaving Prilly but Chris Sutton helped Team Sky control the stage with numbers by spending a long period of time at the front.
Kiserlovski then joined Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) on the attack as Froome’s team fell away over the final 7.5km climb at Plagne, with Richie Porte the only survivor.
Froome told teamsky.com: “Today it was quite a straightforward stage for me just following my team-mates. They did all the work and I was able to stay on their wheel all day.
“I definitely felt the pressure on the last climb but I would hope everyone felt the pressure.”
Friday’s stage consists of three circuits around Payerne measuring 181km before Saturday’s mountain stage between Marly and Les Diablerets.
- Chris Froome retains yellow jersey in Tour de Romandie (guardian.co.uk)
- Froome retains Tour de Romandie lead (themexicanpost.wordpress.com)