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Tour de Romandie Preview

158f518bd4260ad92dd8c500cd445082_medium

via www.tourderomandie.ch


After another thrilling classics season, it’s time for some Alpine stage racing!

The 6 day Tour de Romandie starts this Tuesday.

Roman Kreuziger will be back to defend his title on a very strong Liquigas team (rumoured to be including Ivan Basso?). 

As usual, there are plenty of mountains to climb and with the the final day being an Alpine Queen stage the race should stay interesting throughout.

Star-divide




The Tour de Romandie has been raced since 1947.  Romandie refers to the French speaking region of Switzerland - approximately 20% of the population  - in the western edge of the country

Official Race Site:  here
Official list of teams here
Official list of riders here (may not be completely up-to-date)

TV Coverage Times here. Eurosport will be televising and I am sure as always that steephill.tv will provide other viewing options.
Detailed route maps  / elevation profiles here.


Tues April 27th:
Prologue - 4.3 kms.  This short course takes place in the beautiful, historic village of Porrentruy.  Classics fans will be pleased to hear there is a 400 metres cobbled section.

 

Wed. April 28th:
Stage 1 - 176 kms, 2200 metres ascent

A hilly stage in the Jura mountains north of Lake Neuchatel.  Two category 1 climbs and a category 2 - and a few other bumps along the way.   Although the last 10 kms are downhill, the course may be well suited to a break-away.


Thurs April 29th:
Stage 2 - 172 kms, 1500 metres ascent. 

This stage looks to be for the sprinters.  The course will pass through Fribourg twice before a flat finish. Although two category one climbs are listed .... they are tiny (100 metres ascent?).  Perhaps a typo by the organizers?  The course will climb twice the locally famous and steep cobbled climb "Lorette."  Anyone hoping to foil the sprinters will need to attack here.


Friday, April 30th
:
Stage 3 - Individual Time Trial - 23.4 kms, 330 metres ascent.

It’s a short time trial, but to keep things interesting the first 7 kilometres are uphill @ around 4%.

The last two beautiful stages are in the Alps and designed for the climbers:

Saturday, May 1st:
Stage 4 - 158 kms, 2000 metres ascent.


For the first time in more than 40 years, Romandie will have a stage finish in France.  Starting in Vevey (Switzerland), the route will pass UCI headquarters in Aigle before turning up into the French Alps climbing the Categorie 1 "Pas de Morgins."

The top of the climb is the Swiss / French border - passports please and maybe a quick search of a DS support car. They will then enter Haute Savoie and the beautiful Abondance valley famous for it's cows / cheese. Moo!

The final climb - the Categorie 1 Col du Corbier - is 6 kms at roughly 8% - not easy.  And while the summit is 20+ kms from the finish, the last 17 kilometres are uphill (maybe 2% average).  Fun stage.



Sunday, May 2nd:
Stage 5 - 122 kms, 2800 metres ascent.

The "Queen" stage.  It’s very short, but has three "real" climbs. I often complain that non-grand Tours exaggerate the climb classifications, but the three climbs in this stage are all legitimate Categorie 1 climbs.  And the final climb is a real leg buster. 

Alex Moos - the sentimental local favourite will be riding his 12th and final Romandie.  He hails from mountainous Valais - the Canton (province/state) of this final stage:

" C’est clair, note-t-il, que la montée la plus raide et difficile sera, la troisième, celle d’Ovronnaz. Elle sera suivie d’une descente très technique. On peut s’attendre à une forte sélection, les leaders devant être alors livrés à eux-mêmes. "

<< It's clear that the the steepest climb is the third "Ovronnaz".  And will be followed by a very technical descent.  We can expect the a thinning (selection), with the leaders having to deliver themselves.  >>

 

Here's a profile of the final climb.  Ouch! (the race perhaps skips the last 1/2 km).

Ovronnaz_medium

via www.cycling-challenge.com

 

 Sadly, it's not a mountain top finish, but the end of the descent is less than 10 kms from the finish.



 The Race Favourites:

I'll leave that to the Podium Café experts - but clearly defending champion Roman Kreuziger must be at the top of the list.  But there are lots of big names here.  Menchov, Karpets,  (Basso ?), Cavendish, etc.

After learning last year from some patient Swiss fans that  Morabito is Swiss and not Japanese - I'll be supporting the BMC team leader.

3494093705_ffba0bffca_b_medium


Other stuff?

  • Romandie has a small but fun publicity caravan - throwing out hats/shirts/keychains, etc.  And a local vineyard returns in 2010 - last year they drove the route and poured fans glasses of wine (to accompany Gruyère samples - pure class!).  
  • The king of the mountains jersey is sponsored by the producers of Romandie-based Gruyère cheese (yummy). In the past (and maybe this year?), stage winners have been handed truly giant chunks of cheese. 


Hopefully the giant cycling cheese will make an appearance:

2815091062_ea59fb250b_b_medium

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Thanks for this Will.

It’s a lovely race – managed to see the final stage into Geneva last year.

by Mark T1979 on Apr 25, 2010 1:07 PM EDT reply actions

I was wet and up a mountain for that stage

While my wife met cadel in geneve

moo

by Willj on Apr 25, 2010 2:37 PM EDT via mobile up reply actions

yay climbs

"Wizard's first rule. People are stupid. They will believe anything they want to be true or fear to be true." -- Terry Goodkind

by umwolverine on Apr 25, 2010 1:11 PM EDT reply actions

Will klodi be there? ;)

"How strange it was to see men doing something beautiful. Something pointless and elegant." Tim Winton, 'Breath'

by Seahorse on Apr 25, 2010 1:44 PM EDT up reply actions

he's won romandie before. but, with the shack focus on cali as opposed to the giro, who knows

"Wizard's first rule. People are stupid. They will believe anything they want to be true or fear to be true." -- Terry Goodkind

by umwolverine on Apr 25, 2010 1:53 PM EDT up reply actions

I know he's won before, but it will be a strong field...

As you know, I don’t place too much score in my VDS team because it would be pointless, but a few points from Klodi would be lovely :)

"How strange it was to see men doing something beautiful. Something pointless and elegant." Tim Winton, 'Breath'

by Seahorse on Apr 25, 2010 1:57 PM EDT up reply actions

Unfortunately he won't be there

Looks like radio Shack is promoting Bajkovic and Machado for this race.

by ursula on Apr 25, 2010 1:59 PM EDT up reply actions

Bummer. Mind you, he's been racing a fair bit recently.

I wish Machado was on my team. I’m impressed by him, and up until this year I really hadn’t registered his existence. Not that I’d swap him for Klodi..

"How strange it was to see men doing something beautiful. Something pointless and elegant." Tim Winton, 'Breath'

by Seahorse on Apr 25, 2010 2:02 PM EDT up reply actions

Menchov or Basso

After seeing Vino’s impressive performance I think this season will be about the “Bad Boys going clean” winning.

Garzelli, Scarponi and Ricco have already won, now Vino so only Basso is left.

Menchov has been quiet so, I’ll wait until after stage one but I think based on today’s result that he has some way to go.

I’ve seen the riders penned in to start however I think Sastre may be included with his squad as he does lack racing miles.

by JJohnny on Apr 25, 2010 1:26 PM EDT reply actions

isn't that Sastre's usual modus operandi?

"I was just trying to keep warm" - Ian Stannard on finishing third in KBK

by civetta on Apr 25, 2010 3:28 PM EDT up reply actions

My picks

I think the riders who are not riding the Giro would do best or try the hardest. If so then I will cite:

Valverde
Anton
Kreuziger
Menchov
Rogers
Karpets
Brajkovic
Machado
Van Den Broeck
Gilbert

With the good chronomen in this group having the advantage.

Maybe Casar, Kreder, Seeldrayers (yes! both BCS’ in the same race!)

Sprinters involved:

Steegmans, Lucas Haedo, Ciolek, Napolitano, Henderson, Weylandt, Vanotti, Hunter, Cardoso, Fernandez, Davis, and Bos: all of whom will be trying to latch onto Cavendish’s Columbia train. Guess they will be riding for second.

by ursula on Apr 25, 2010 2:41 PM EDT reply actions

Yay--Ciolek and Steegmans are back!

Anybody who doubts I have a soft side, just look at my freaking VDS picks.

PS—Bos is back on the start list? He was off it last time I checked. Do you know which site has the most up to date list?

If Cavendish was a diplomat, the third world war would have started a long time ago--Brian Holm

by majope on Apr 25, 2010 3:20 PM EDT up reply actions

No I don't.

And I see contradictions with other races scheduled during this race.

by ursula on Apr 25, 2010 8:00 PM EDT up reply actions

Up to date startlists?

Not CN’s, usually, although I may be teaching my grandmother to suck eggs. Don’t see any conflicts in cyclingfever’s startlists, immediately.

by Triki on Apr 25, 2010 8:18 PM EDT up reply actions

The only conflict IO se there involves on of my VDS riders

Cardoso of Footon. He’s listed there and not at the Subida al Naranco but that Spanish race’s website has Cardoso riding there.

by ursula on Apr 25, 2010 9:36 PM EDT up reply actions

Nah, I never look at CN's.

They leave old provisional start lists up even after the race has been and gone. If a race site doesn’t have a final start list posted, I usually check both cyclingfever and cyclingstartlists, but they often have different info—like they do right now with Romandie.

If Cavendish was a diplomat, the third world war would have started a long time ago--Brian Holm

by majope on Apr 25, 2010 10:12 PM EDT up reply actions

It's official--no Bos.

If Cavendish was a diplomat, the third world war would have started a long time ago--Brian Holm

by majope on Apr 26, 2010 10:20 AM EDT up reply actions

Oops, meant to source that

From CTT site (click on Tour de Romandie):

TestTeam Riders attending:
Davide Appollonio (ITA), Iñigo Cuesta (ESP), Stefan Denifl (AUT), Volodimir Gustov (UKR), Roger Hammond (GBR), Joaquin Novoa (ESP), Oscar Pujol (ESP), Marcel Wyss (SUI)

If Cavendish was a diplomat, the third world war would have started a long time ago--Brian Holm

by majope on Apr 26, 2010 10:23 AM EDT up reply actions

Valverde not in the Giro?

Why on earth not?

Gerrie Kneteman: If a football player falls he shouts for his mother, if a cyclist falls he yells for his bike.

by Lopex on Apr 25, 2010 3:57 PM EDT up reply actions

Italian Anti-doping has PNG'd him.

He can race anywhere except Italy at this time….
(Persona Non Grata)

by Fred Marx on Apr 25, 2010 4:09 PM EDT up reply actions

Plus I'd say he's earned a rest.

Just to get past the snarking, the dude has been a machine this year with the racing.

by ursula on Apr 25, 2010 8:02 PM EDT up reply actions

Cav's train

Is it fully functional again? And has Cav reached his top form again? This race will tell.

Gerrie Kneteman: If a football player falls he shouts for his mother, if a cyclist falls he yells for his bike.

by Lopex on Apr 25, 2010 3:58 PM EDT up reply actions

Gilbert tryong to be the number 1 on the UCI Ranking..

He wants a result here.. You can already put him on 1 in the prologue

by Frinking on Apr 25, 2010 4:20 PM EDT up reply actions

+.. He thinks he can get top 10...

I’m really curious if he can achieve that

by Frinking on Apr 25, 2010 4:21 PM EDT up reply actions

Sagan is riding. Nice...

"How strange it was to see men doing something beautiful. Something pointless and elegant." Tim Winton, 'Breath'

by Seahorse on Apr 25, 2010 2:42 PM EDT reply actions

which one?

"Wizard's first rule. People are stupid. They will believe anything they want to be true or fear to be true." -- Terry Goodkind

by umwolverine on Apr 25, 2010 3:54 PM EDT up reply actions

Young Sagan, i.e. Peter

Tommeke!, Tommeke!, Tommeke!, Tommeke!

by Vlaanderen90 on Apr 25, 2010 4:36 PM EDT up reply actions

his brother is older?

"Wizard's first rule. People are stupid. They will believe anything they want to be true or fear to be true." -- Terry Goodkind

by umwolverine on Apr 25, 2010 6:32 PM EDT up reply actions

cause they both ride for leaky now, no?

"Wizard's first rule. People are stupid. They will believe anything they want to be true or fear to be true." -- Terry Goodkind

by umwolverine on Apr 25, 2010 6:33 PM EDT up reply actions

I don't think Jurag has actually signed yet.

The original article doesn’t specify when he’ll join Liquigas, but I just assumed next season. Doesn’t seem worth expecting an arrival quite like Peter’s to the Protour, though.

by Triki on Apr 25, 2010 7:06 PM EDT up reply actions

juraj's supposed to begin riding with liquigas

in june. peter’s wielding remarkable power for a neo-professional rider (albeit a successful one).

by discolite on Apr 26, 2010 1:59 PM EDT up reply actions

On Friday 30th there is also the Grand Prix de Suisse

which is organised in close conjunction with this race. It’s a UCI ranked timetrial organised by the Fondation Magali Pache in memory of a young Swiss rider killed by a drunk driver while riding back to her hotel after a race. The website is here, but it’s a bit out of date. They use exactly the same course as the men and get allocated a few dozen start times before the men start leaving.

Here’s last year’s top 10

1 Christiane Soeder (Aut) Cervelo TestTeam 21.49 (40.7 km/h)
2 Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (Fra) France 0.25
3 Emma Pooley (GBr) Cervelo TestTeam 0.42
4 Loes Gunnewijk (Ned) Team Flexpoint 0.46
5 Vicki Whitelaw (Aus) Vision 1 Racing 1.12
6 Regina Bruins (Ned) Cervelo TestTeam 1.14
7 Claudia Häusler (Ger) Cervelo TestTeam 1.32
8 Patricia Schwager (Swi) Cervelo TestTeam 1.40
9 Edwige Pitel (Fra) France 1.41
10 Trine Schmidt (Den) Team Flexpoint 1.50

by Monty. on Apr 25, 2010 4:04 PM EDT reply actions

Know how to make a bunch of people instant fans of women's cycling?

A women’s VDS league.

If Cavendish was a diplomat, the third world war would have started a long time ago--Brian Holm

by majope on Apr 25, 2010 4:22 PM EDT up reply actions

I tinkered with a few numbers this past winter

and if the team budget was set at say 100 points, Marianne Vos would have to cost something like 75. It’s awkward.

by Monty. on Apr 25, 2010 4:27 PM EDT up reply actions

is there a way you could integrate it with the men's VDS we have already?

Make VDS teams be a bit like HTC-Columbia and Cervelo and have both boys and girls

You might have to make skew the scoring system a bit (and sadly against the girls) but if you set it up so a rider as solid as Vos could earn say 2,000 points and cost 24 points, Pooley, Johanson, Cooke etc could be interesting options in the 4-8 point range.

And you might have to select a minimum number of girls

Just an idea and could be an interesting reward for anyone prepared to delve into the women’s peloton

by thebongolian on Apr 26, 2010 4:30 PM EDT up reply actions

Now that's an interesting thought

then do you choose Bert or Vos as your 3000 point banker. I’ll have to go over those numbers again. If nothing else it gives us the moral high ground when we ask the teams “why don’t you run both men’s and women’s teams”

by Monty. on Apr 26, 2010 4:52 PM EDT up reply actions

yeah

good to get an idea of what scores different riders might get and the choices it might then throw up – as you say one of only vos or bert might be a tough one

and also lead to fantastic smack talk if one got injured – at the moment (assuming he stays upright) I suspect you’ll struggle to be near the top of the pile if you don’t have Bert in your VDS

by thebongolian on Apr 26, 2010 5:34 PM EDT up reply actions

hate to be a party pooper, but me no much like that idea.

i have a hard enough time figuring out which male riders to pick from. not so much into the women’s cycling scene.

"Wizard's first rule. People are stupid. They will believe anything they want to be true or fear to be true." -- Terry Goodkind

by umwolverine on Apr 26, 2010 7:28 PM EDT up reply actions

well

you could just add them to the list and not force you to chose a minimum number – then it’d be a similar situation to those who can be bothered to study the U23 ranks having an advantage picking the neo-pros

by thebongolian on Apr 27, 2010 2:38 AM EDT up reply actions

more pictures of fahlin

"Ants don’t worry, they operate like a fantastic team, they accept obstacles and deal with them in a positive manner, they don’t complain and remain positive. An ant doesn’t work on emotion, is proactive and always chooses the ant role."

by ant1 on Apr 26, 2010 4:23 PM EDT up reply actions

Thanks for that

It’s disappointing the site in not updated and I may be mistaken but didn’t see it mentioned on the official Romandie site

moo

by Willj on Apr 25, 2010 4:55 PM EDT via mobile up reply actions

One comment is

it’s a bit funny seeing a race without any continental teams (well, Cervélo and BMC, but hopefully you know what I mean).

by Triki on Apr 25, 2010 6:06 PM EDT reply actions

This race always has a weird feeling to it while watching

because it is right after the excitement of the classics and really I can’t think of anything but the Giro because it is so close and my favorite race. So I always want Romandie to just kinda be over with but I do enjoy the race quite a lot.

Proud member of Thuggetz nation.

by Phil H. on Apr 25, 2010 6:36 PM EDT reply actions

VDS - wise

I got:
Hondo
Iglinsky
Remy Di
CVV

I may come away with a stage or two.

by ELVISGOAT on Apr 25, 2010 7:33 PM EDT reply actions

i'm taking:

Nicolas “Breakout year (next year)” Roche
Theo “1-0, Cav” Bos
Gerald “I can just about fit this in before my next injury” Ciolek

Top three in the stage score, and the top ten on GC, so there should be something going.

by Triki on Apr 25, 2010 7:57 PM EDT up reply actions

I dont have any GC ambitions here

I don’t really see CVV riding to place. I may be wrong…

by ELVISGOAT on Apr 25, 2010 8:05 PM EDT up reply actions

I gots

Bos
Cardoso (if he’s riding)
Van den Broeck
Mollema
Ciolek

i.e. I’ll get very few points here.

by ursula on Apr 25, 2010 8:06 PM EDT up reply actions

As for me...

Roche
Anton
Koldo
Sagan
Szmyd
Gilbert

by Albertina on Apr 26, 2010 6:56 AM EDT up reply actions

Hmmm

Ciolek,
Anton,
Mollema,
Zeits,
Frank.
Nieve,

by Frinking on Apr 26, 2010 8:17 AM EDT up reply actions

You are so desperate to beat me aren't you Frinky?

I think I might have the upper hand here by a whisker, though for course we will both benefit from Igor’s victory ;)

by Albertina on Apr 26, 2010 9:11 AM EDT up reply actions

hmmm

roche
izaguirre
di gregorio
szymd
eisel
renshaw
unless szymd is allowed in a mountain breakaway, not sure if any points will be forthcoming. perhaps roche can top 10, but probably not. bah.

"I was watching the Tour de France in 2005, just being a fan again. I thought, ‘you're a fucking idiot. You're a bike fan who gets to ride the Tour de France.'"
- david millar

by benrazor on Apr 26, 2010 10:06 AM EDT up reply actions

i'm still rather heartbroken that taaramäe's unable to defend his place on the podium.

i have little doubt, however, that bodnar and kreuziger will superglue the pieces together again: bodnar, when he puts the prologue in a chokehold; and kreuziger, when he climbs onto the podium in sion. apart from sagan, i’ve no clue which other riders i’m sending to the starting line. sorry, too much hockey to watch!

by discolite on Apr 26, 2010 12:35 AM EDT reply actions

A it of a pity that they went away

from the final day TT. They used to have one with climbing, fast downhill and a cobbled climb in the town just at the end. Made for great viewing.

by Jens on Apr 26, 2010 1:09 AM EDT reply actions

Yep

Couple of exciting finishes there. I recall Evans winning powerfully, as well as Thomas Dekker.

"The only pain I got time for is the pain I put on fools who don't know what time it is." Edvald Boasson Hagen

by Chris... on Apr 26, 2010 1:28 AM EDT up reply actions

Yeah that was a great course

I remember a couple years ago Kloden finishing so fast that on the last turn he bounced off the barriers on the outside of the curve, stayed upright like it was nothing and still won.

by ursula on Apr 26, 2010 10:22 AM EDT up reply actions

Grace on a bike :)

"How strange it was to see men doing something beautiful. Something pointless and elegant." Tim Winton, 'Breath'

by Seahorse on Apr 26, 2010 10:26 AM EDT up reply actions

Queen stage

yikes!

"The only pain I got time for is the pain I put on fools who don't know what time it is." Edvald Boasson Hagen

by Chris... on Apr 26, 2010 1:28 AM EDT reply actions

Thanks for the preview Will!

I wil be going to the Fribourg stage on thursday. Would you reccommend the Lorette climb as the place to watch from?

by celerity on Apr 26, 2010 2:55 AM EDT reply actions

Yes, I think Lorette is the only place to be

they will pass it with about 70 km and 35 kms from the finish.

I rememeber last time it was a bit of a disppointment as it is just a bit to far from the finish – but the organizers call it “mythic” ;)

Here’s an idea:
 I think you may well be able to see the race on Lorette twice and THEN easily get to the finish line. Because they climb Lorette as they leave Fribourg and then do the loops. I don’t think it actually geographically too far from the finish line.

Have a look at the detailed course maps on the official site and you will see what I mean.

Maybe on the day, you can see better if logistically it works, but I think you should be able to see the race 3 times at the three best places for that stage.

Have fun!

moo

by Willj on Apr 26, 2010 5:33 AM EDT up reply actions

Thanks!

Have downloaded the stage info – so nice to have the timing and everything readily available.

I was originally planning to just see the start and finish, and explore Fribourg in between, but as I discovered in Flanders, cobbled climbs are rather fun to spectate from. Since It starts quite late in the day I might arrive in the morning, and still have some time to see the town before the start.

(PS: I have only been in Geneva for about 2 hours, but so far it seems like a lovely city. Not least because of the free wireless in the parks!)

by celerity on Apr 26, 2010 9:13 AM EDT up reply actions

Thanks, I will try.

This whole actually being able to see races in person is rather new and exciting still. It’s usually so much trouble just to get video of them in Oz!

by celerity on Apr 26, 2010 9:15 AM EDT up reply actions

thanks will

looking forward to this. i’m with phil in that i can’t wait for the giro to start..but the scenery in the alps is always worth watching.

"I was watching the Tour de France in 2005, just being a fan again. I thought, ‘you're a fucking idiot. You're a bike fan who gets to ride the Tour de France.'"
- david millar

by benrazor on Apr 26, 2010 7:50 AM EDT reply actions

I think all my one pointers are racing, including Jack Bobridge... very exciting.

"How strange it was to see men doing something beautiful. Something pointless and elegant." Tim Winton, 'Breath'

by Seahorse on Apr 26, 2010 12:26 PM EDT reply actions

I'll send little Arthur Vichot after them.

Allez! Allez!

"How strange it was to see men doing something beautiful. Something pointless and elegant." Tim Winton, 'Breath'

by Seahorse on Apr 26, 2010 1:08 PM EDT up reply actions

Ha... they'd better be. He's going to be something... one day :)

"How strange it was to see men doing something beautiful. Something pointless and elegant." Tim Winton, 'Breath'

by Seahorse on Apr 26, 2010 1:15 PM EDT up reply actions

btw, live streaming available from sportitalia, nonrestricted (hopefully not delayed as they were last year)

  
links to sportitalia and other providers are at steephill and cyclingfans

"Wizard's first rule. People are stupid. They will believe anything they want to be true or fear to be true." -- Terry Goodkind

by umwolverine on Apr 27, 2010 7:46 AM EDT reply actions

Fingers crossed..

"How strange it was to see men doing something beautiful. Something pointless and elegant." Tim Winton, 'Breath'

by Seahorse on Apr 27, 2010 7:50 AM EDT up reply actions

MyP2P says it's a 5 minute delay on Sportitalia

They also say there will be streams from the Italian Sky and ETB.

Staring at the swim team gets you killed by a gang of dancing ninja men who know how to twirl.

by TheFigurehead on Apr 27, 2010 7:58 AM EDT up reply actions

actually, it was 20 mins delayed today... will prob be the same tomorrow (was like this last year)

"Wizard's first rule. People are stupid. They will believe anything they want to be true or fear to be true." -- Terry Goodkind

by umwolverine on Apr 27, 2010 5:59 PM EDT up reply actions


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