Ethan Vernon continued Soudal Quick-Step’s refreshed run of form at the Tour de Romandie, sprinting emphatically to a stage win on the race’s second day.
The Brit’s victory made it two for two for the Belgian team at the race, coming just 24 hours after his team-mate Josef Černý prevailed in the prologue, a 6.8km individual time trial in the Swiss town of Port-Valais.
The win also marked the 22-year-old’s second at WorldTour level, his first claimed at the Volta a Catalunya over a year ago.
“To win again in WorldTour is nice,” he said post-race in Vallée de Joux. “Especially for me, I had three wins at the start of the year, and then I had a bit of sickness after one of my races. So to come back to good fitness and form now is nice.”
After a comparatively dry Classics season for Soudal Quick-Step, who went almost a month winless between March and April, Vernon’s victory continued an uptick in form for the team. The squad have now won the last three races they started, including Remco Evenepoel’s breakaway triumph at Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.
“We’re back to winning ways again,” Vernon said, referring to his team’s newfound form.
The Brit, a world champion in the team pursuit on the track, now leads the Tour de Romandie ahead of Thursday’s stage two, tied on time with his team-mate Černý.
Asked what it means to wear the yellow leader’s jersey, he said: “It’s really special. I obviously take it off my team-mate, so we keep it in the team for another day and we keep trying for the GC with the team.
“I’m not sure [if I can keep the jersey]. Tomorrow is hard, but anything is possible. I had good legs today, so we’ll see what the legs are like tomorrow. If not me, we have other cards we can play in the team.”
Stage two brings an undulating menu of climbs for the peloton, with three category-two ascents and two classified at category three. Starting in Morteau and finishing in La Chaux-de-Fonds, it takes place mostly in the Jura mountains.
The six-day WorldTour race will conclude this Sunday 30 April in Geneva.