Tour de Romandie Preview: Between the classics and the Tours
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Monday, April 26, 2010

Tour de Romandie Preview: Between the classics and the Tours

by Ben Atkins at 2:41 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Romandie
 

roman kreuzigerThe Tour de Romandie, Switzerland’s second stage race, starts tomorrow marking the end of the classics season and the approach of the first of the year’s Grand Tours. The race’s position in the calendar allows the Ardennes specialists to capitalise on the form they built for last week’s races, and it also allows for riders looking at next month’s Giro d’Italia a chance to test their legs.

2009 winner Roman Kreuziger will defend the race after a strong classics campaign that saw him come close in the Amstel Gold Race. The young Czech may well find himself in a supporting role to team captain Ivan Basso though, as the Italian warms up for his attempt to repeat his 2006 Giro d’Italia victory.

The provisional list of riders includes many names seen battling to the finish on the Cauberg, Mur de Huy and in Ans, including Amstel winner Philippe Gilbert (OmegaPharma-Lotto), Liège runner-up Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) and the man who battled with Alberto Contador on the Mur: Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Gilbert is unlikely to ride next month’s Giro and Valverde is still banned from racing in Italy, but Anton is one who will be hoping that his Ardennes form carries over to the year’s first Grand Tour.

As well as Basso, the list of Giro hopefuls present includes last year’s winner Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia) and Christian Vandevelde (Garmin-Transitions). Two riders who have done well in the classics and have Giro ambitions, but will be missing from the Romandie start line are Flèche and Liège winners Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana).

Although there is only one stage that can be described as flat, Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) has chosen this race to restart his season after a disappointing Classics campaign. The young Manxman will likely get competition from a number of other sprinters in the race, including Allan Davis (Astana), Robbie Hunter (Garmin-Transitions), Danilo Hondo (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and Gerald Ciolek (Milram).

The race starts with a 4.3km prologue in Porrentruy, in the north east of the country. The course then heads south and further east on a hilly stage to Fleurver, taking in two first category and one second category climb. Stage 2, which is to and from Freiburg, features two climbs, but probably offers the best chance to the sprinters before the real climbing starts. The stage 3 time trial around Moudon shares its course with the invitation-only women’s Grand Prix Suisse-Souvenir Magali Pache.

Stage 4 from Vevey, on the banks of Lac Léman, to Vallée d’Abondance is the queen stage of the race. The route passes into France to climb the Pas de Morgins before returning to Switzerland for the Col du Corbier and an uphill finish. Stage 5 is almost as tough, with the climbs to Anzére, Crans-Montana and Ovronnaz included in a short course that starts and finishes in the picturesque southern town of Sion.

2010 Tour of Romandie stages:
27 April – Prologue: Porrentruy I.T.T. (4.3 km)
28 April – Stage 1: Porrentruy - Fleurier (175.6 km)
29 April – Stage 2: Fribourg - Fribourg (171.8 km)
30 April – Stage 3: Moudon - Moudon I.T.T. (23.4 km)
1 May – Stage 4: Vevey - Châtel (Fra) (157.9 km)
2 May – Stage 5: Sion - Sion (121.8 km)

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