(Reuters) - Nairo Quintana won the Tour de Romandie on Sunday to once again stamp his credentials to become the first South American winner of the Tour de France later this year.
The brilliant Colombian prevailed in the six-day race after a rain-soaked final stage won by Orica-GreenEdge’s Swiss rider Michael Albasini in Geneva.
The Swiss race has often been a good pointer to finding the Tour de France champion, with three of the previous five winners having gone on to claim the yellow jersey in July.
Movistar rider Quintana, second in the Tour de France last year, has demonstrated early-season form that suggests he could go one better this year, having already won the Tour of Catalonia in March.
He led overall since winning Thursday’s second stage and the 26-year-old Quintana sealed victory by 19 seconds from France’s Thibaut Pinot on Sunday, finishing in the main peloton along with reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome.
Froome, the Tour de Romandie-Tour de France double winner in 2013 who won Saturday’s fourth stage with a solo break, finished 38th overall after losing 17 minutes following a puncture in the second stage.
Writing by Ian Chadband, editing by Ed Osmond