Vlasov top favorite against manageable competition

Preview of the 75th Tour de Romandie

By Kevin Kemp


Tour de Romandie 2021 | Photo: Cor Vos

25/04/2022 | (rsn) – The Giro favorites skip the 75th Tour de Romandie, which begins on Tuesday, a week and a half before the Tour of Italy, and most riders focusing on the Tour de France take a break after the spring.

The tour in French-speaking Switzerland suffered from a weak number of participants by WorldTour standards. With Michael Woods (Israel – Premier Tech, 16th) and Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora – hansgrohe, 20th), only two drivers from the top 20 on the current UCI world rankings can be found on the starting list.

This year, the Tour de Romandie offers a total of six stretches and 712 kilometers with a prologue, moderately difficult stages, a mountain finish and a mountain time ride at the end with everything tour riders could wish for.

Favorites:

After the performances shown so far, Vlasov should be top favorite. The Russian has another co-favorite in Sergio Higuita – who won Around Catalonia. In Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the duo already harmonized perfectly as they were among the favorites in the final and the Colombian finished in fifth place.

Defending champion Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) did not deliver any sensational results recently. In the Basque Country, however, he stood out not only for his good fourth place in the prologue, but also for his strong helping roles. In French-speaking Switzerland, the British can drive at their own expense. With Ethan Hayter and shooting star Luke Plapp, two other strong tour drivers will represent the colors of the British.

Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) won the Tour of Sicily overall and won two stages. After helping in the Ardennes, he was allowed to work as captain again in Switzerland. Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën) had already confirmed his strong Tour de France last year several times this year. His star rose at the Tour de Romandie in 2021 when he was only overtaken by Woods in the final on the mountain tape.

The Canadian, who won that stage but conceded overall victory in the final time trial to finish in fourth place, is not yet in the form of last season. His form curve, however, showed upward in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The same can be said about Thibaut Pinot (Groupama – FDJ), who won a race in the Tour of the Alps for the first time in more than 1000 days.

With Brandon McNulty and Juan Ayuso, the UAE Team Emirates sends two young tour drivers into the race. American McNulty has already celebrated three victories this year, each with long solos, and finally celebrated his breakthrough. His Spanish teammate is considered a super talent and has already hinted at his potential several times.

Also worth mentioning is Rohan Dennis (Jumbo – Visma). The unpredictable Aussie could win the Tour – or he could miss the top 50 by a wide margin. Whether the 31-year-old is in the right shape and willing to compete is something his competitors usually only know when it’s too late. His teammates Steven Kruijswijk and Sepp Kuss also have round driving characteristics. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education – EasyPost) rounds out the squad of ranking drivers.

The German-speaking drivers:

The two Bora captains will be supported by Maximilian Schachmann, who returns to racing after having to skip the Ardennes classics. Austrians Felix Großschartner and Patrick Konrad must also build up their toughness and form after health problems. With Anton Palzer, the Raubles send another of the seven Germans in the race.

In addition to the two Bora Austrians, the Alpine Republic sends another interesting rider into the race with Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain Victorious), who rides really well in the Tour of the Alps. His Swiss team-mate Gino Mäder has yet to confirm his fifth-place finish at last year’s Vuelta this season. However, the tour in the home country can change that.

The 25-year-old is one of 15 Swiss. This means that the Swiss, together with the Spaniards, have the most drivers in the race. It is the wildcard for the national team around mountain bike star Mathias Flückiger that contributes to.

Stages:

Tuesday, April 26, prologue, Lausanne (5.1 km):
The first time differences appear right at the beginning of the ride on a flat but twisted path.

Wednesday 27 April, stage 1 La Grande Beroche – Romont (178 km):
A profile like a bread knife presents itself to the field on the second day of the trip over the last hundred kilometers. The final in Romont also ends after a climb that is a little longer than a kilometer. Here there can also be time differences.

The profiles for the prologue and 1st stage. Photo: organizer

Thursday 28 April, stage 2: Around Échallens (168 km):
The climbs on the third stage are a little longer, but flatter and less numerous than the day before. The favorites are unlikely to hurt each other in the Échallens, the sprint of a decimated field or the victory of an outburst is likely.

Friday 29 April, stage 3: Around Valbroye (165 km):
Four hills must be completed in the last 40 kilometers, the last two of them are classified. Although not particularly steep or long, this finale can be treacherous.

The profiles for 2nd stage and 3rd stage. Photo: organizer

Saturday, April 30, stage 4: Aigle – Val d’Anniviers (180 km):
Four mountains of 1st category must be completed. The last one, the ascent to Grimentz, is eight kilometers from the finish line. However, these last kilometers are mostly uphill, just like the last 30 kilometers of the race. Here the favorites have to put their cards on the table.

The profile of 4. stage. Photo: organizer

Sunday, May 1, Stage 5: Aigle to Villars (15.8 km, EZF):
On the last day of the trip, starting from UCI headquarters, it is 5.6 kilometers of flat terrain before the last 10.2 kilometers are uphill with an average increase of 8.0%. This is where the trip will definitely be decided.

The profile of 5. stage. Photo: organizer

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