Tudor Pro Cycling's Zijlaard wins prologue Tour de Romandie in Cancellara's backyard

BMC | Tudor Pro Cycling's Zijlaard wins prologue Tour de Romandie

Putting a fast cyclist on the flat and quick in the corners on a bike capable of the same is how Tudor Pro Cycling generated enough speed to win the prologue in the Tour de Romandie. Maikel Zijlaard claimed his first professional victory in the 2.3-kilometer prologue on a bike that once again proved to be the most complete bike BMC has ever made: the Teammachine R.

"This is my first victory, my first in the WorldTour,” Zijlaard said after the finish. “I can't believe it either. I am good at prologues, so my goal was to perform well. It's hard to believe that I won today, but I did it. It's crazy. And all this for a Swiss team in Switzerland.”

The 24-year-old, the main lead-out man for Tudor’s sprinters Alberto Dainese and Arvid de Kleijn, surprised everyone with an excellent performance on the course with 14 corners in 2.3 kilometers. The Dutchman needed 2.55 minutes, leaving Cameron Scott, Julian Alaphilippe, and all the other competition in his wake.

BMC | Tudor Pro Cycling's Zijlaard wins prologue Tour de Romandie

“The last two hours of waiting were the worst two hours of my life,” Zijlaard said after he finally knew he won the prologue. “I started very early, so I had to wait a long time until everyone crossed the line. This is a dream!”

Zijlaard made his debut last year in the professional peloton with Fabian Cancellara's team, the man he admired as a child. Obviously, the youngster wanted to show his best side in Payerne, a small town near Cancellara's hometown of Bern.

“From here, I am going to take it day by day. As a team, we're going to celebrate a little bit today. And then we'll see again tomorrow."

The six-day Tour of Romandie continues on Wednesday with a challenging hill stage to Fribourg, where Zijlaard, in his leader's jersey, will have to tackle plenty of elevation gain to set up the sprint for Alberto Dainese and defend his own leader’s jersey.