Britain's Froome wins Tour de Romandie
GENEVA (AP) -- Chris Froome of Britain completed a start-to-finish victory in the Tour of Romandie on Sunday, enhancing his status as the Tour de France favorite.
Bradley Wiggins and Cadel Evans, the previous two Romandie champions, went on to win the Tour de France.
"It gives me confidence,'' said Froome, who was second last year in cycling's biggest event. "It's definitely a good omen, but the Tour is still two months away and I need to do a lot of hard training.''
Froome placed third in the closing time trial won by Germany's Tony Martin and extended his advantage over Slovakia's Simon Spilak in the overall standings.
The Sky team leader was seven seconds faster than Spilak on the 11.6-mile route on lakeside roads. He won the six-day race by 54 seconds and had a total time of 19 hours, 24 minutes, 51 seconds.
"I'm really happy with my condition now,'' said Froome, who praised his Sky riders for protecting him in the main pack after he won Tuesday's prologue. "It's just been a really, really good week for us.''
Martin finished in 21 minutes, 7 seconds on Sunday, with Italy's Adriano Malori 16 seconds back. Froome trailed Martin by 34 seconds and Spilak placed fifth.
"I put everything in my legs today and I'm happy,'' said Martin, the two-time time trial world champion and Olympic silver medalist behind Wiggins last August.
On Saturday, in a rain-swept mountain stage, he finished just behind Spilak to all but seal the victory. Froome says he is still learning to be a leader on the road. In the last Tour de France, under Sky orders, Froome deferred to Wiggins.
"I think the biggest thing I learned this week was how important it was to be able to deliver (Saturday),'' Froome said. "It really kept everyone's morale high when they were pulling for me all week. Yesterday they saw I was able to finish the job.''
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