Plapp promises more surprises after Romandie surge

Australian champion Luke Plapp has energised the Tour de Romandie with a  rousing ride and has promised more surprises as he shoots for the lead in another of Europe's great cycling races.

National road race champ Plapp, who's already worn the yellow jersey in Paris-Nice during his impressive 2024 campaign, moved into third in the general classification of the Swiss tour after surprising even himself with a bold attack from the pack on Thursday's second stage.

The 23-year-old ever-improving Melbourne prospect blasted away from the main bunch on the final demanding climb to catch the two breakaway survivors, only to be beaten by Belgian stage winner Thibau Nys and Italian Andrea Vendrame in the uphill sprint denouement.

Thibau Nys
Stage winner Thibau Nys celebrates taking the overall lead in the Tour de Romandie. (EPA PHOTO)

As Lidl-Trek's Nys took over the "Fromage Le Marechal" yellow jersey by four seconds from Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale's Vendrame, Plapp was left in striking distance to take the overall lead after Friday's time trial, his speciality.

"It was a really beautiful day. It wasn't planned, not at all," beamed Jayco AlUla's Plapp of his late charge.

"On that last climb, I surprised myself a bit, I didn't expect that. (Teammate) Simon (Yates) did an amazing little attack to shake everyone up and I just tried to take an opportunity after that.

"I'm really happy with my legs going into tomorrow's time trial. TT (time trialling) is my favourite event in the world, it's what I love, it's what I started doing.

"There's a few new surprises to come as well tomorrow which I'm very interested and keen to show you guys. I can't wait - it's going to be a really exciting day for me."

Teasing reporters with the prospect of perhaps a technological equipment advance, national time trial champ Plapp certainly has the firepower against the clock on the 15.5km circuit around Oron to pedal into yellow again.

The day after signing a contract extension with his BORA-hansgrohe team, fellow Aussie Jai Hindley improved to 23rd overall, 38 seconds behind Nys, after finishing 27th on the 171km stage between Fribourg and Salvan/Les Marecottes.