Albasini wins Romandie cycling stage, Felline keeps lead

Switzerland's Michael Albasini of Team Orica-Scott (C) recats as he crosses the finish line to win the first stage of Tour de Romandie UCI protour cycling race, a 173km ride from Aigle to Champery on April 26, 2017

Switzerland's Michael Albasini won the first stage of the Tour de Romandie on Wednesday as prologue winner Fabio Felline of Italy maintained his overall lead.

Twice former winner and favourite Chris Froome finished fifth on the stage and climbed 39 places, but remains 29 seconds off the pace after finishing 78th in Tuesday's opening 4.8km prologue.

On a sopping wet day, Albasini won a sprint finish at the end of the 173.3km mountainous stage from Aigle to Champery in Switzerland, with Italian Diego Ulissi second and Jesus Herrada of Spain third.

It was 36-year-old Albasini's seventh stage win at the tour.

Felline finished safely in the leading bunch in 12th in the same time as the winner. German Maximilian Schachmann jumped two places to second overall at 8sec with Herrada now third on the same time.

Victory continued a solid spring for Albasini of the Australian Orica team after he finished third at the Amstel Gold Race 10 days ago.

Thursday's second stage is a hilly 160.7km run from Champery to Bulle.

The key stage will likely be Saturday's mountainous 162.3km run including four categorised climbs. The race finishes on Sunday with an 18.3km individual time-trial.