In recent years the Tour de Romandie has become a particularly revealing stage race in the build up to the grand tours, with the victors of the previous two editions, Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins, going on to win the Tour de France two months later.
Defending champion Wiggins will not take his place at the start-line in Le Châble on Tuesday as he eyes the Giro d’Italia in May. However, Sky remain the team to beat with the on-form Paris-Nice winner Richie Porte and current bookies’ favourite for the Tour, Chris Froome at the helm.
The balanced nature of the parcours ensures that riders of a variety of skill sets could compete for the overall, with a series of flat and hilly stages preceding Saturday’s mountainous stage to La Diablerets. Recent history suggests that the time trials that bookend the race in the prologue and stage five will be the most decisive.
Outside of the race for the overall, sprinter Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) will be looking to clock only his second win since his Quatar success back in February.
Tour de Romandie 2013: Contenders
Chris Froome (GBr) Sky
Having already registered wins in the Tour of Oman and Criterium International this season, Froome is looking to replicate Wiggins by winning in Romandie on route to the Tour. Considering that Wiggins’ historical 2012 featured three World Tour stage race victories in the run in to the Tour, a third win before May would complete a remarkable early season for the Kenyan-born Brit.
Richie Porte (Aus) Sky
Froome’s closest rival may come from his own team, as Australian Richie Porte goes into the race following overall victory at Paris-Nice and second places at the Criterium International and Tour of the Basque Country. Porte and Froome worked well together at the Criterium, and victory in Romandie may depend on which of the two is quickest in the time trials.
Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
As the best time-triallist in the race, at least one stage victory in the prologue and stage five’s races against the clock looks likely for Martin. The German will, however, have to climb better than he has this season to not lose time on the steeper gradients and challenge for the overall.
Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp
Following his second place finish last year, the young American has progressed further over the last 12 months with a top 10 in last year’s Vuelta a Espana and second in March at Paris-Nice. With a strong Garmin-Sharp team for support, Talansky will look to go one better this time around.
Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
Valverde has looked strong all spring but failed to pull off a major win, falling short in the Ardennes classics. In Romandie, he will look to attack in both the hills and mountains, and his rivals will be ill-advised to allow any leeway to the 2010 ‘winner’ (the result was later removed due to his involvement in Operation Puerto).
Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha
The Slovenian’s biggest win to date is the 2010 Tour de Romandie, however that victory was assigned only retrospectively after Valverde’s results were voided. The Slovenian’s high placing at Paris-Nice and the Tour of the Basque Country and his ability in the time-trials make him an outside favourite.
Tour de Romandie 2013: Stages
Prologue, Tuesday April 23, La Chable to Bruson, 7.5km ITT
Stage one, Wednesday April 24, St Maurice to Renens/Ouest lausannois, 177km
Stage two, Thursday April 25, Prilly/Ouest lausannois to Granges, 190km
Stage three, Friday April 26, Payerne to Payerne, 181km
Stage four, Saturday April 27, Marly to Las Diablerets, 189km
Stage five, Sunday April 28, Geneve to Geneve, 18.6km ITT
Tour de Romandie 2013: Teams
Ag2r La Mondiale
Tour de Romandie 2013: TV Guide
Sky Sports will be showing live coverage and edited highlights of the 2013 Tour de Romandie.
Tuesday April 23, 15:00-16:30, Tour de Romandie prologue LIVE, Sky Sports 2
Tuesday April 23, 21:00-22:30, Tour de Romandie prologue highlights, Sky Sports 4
Wednesday April 24, 02:00-03:30, Tour de Romandie prologue highlights, Sky Sports 4
Wednesday April 24, 08:00-09:30, Tour de Romandie prologue highlights, Sky Sports 3
Wednesday April 24, 15:00-16:30, Tour de Romandie stage one LIVE, Sky Sports 2
Wednesday April 24, 21:00-22:30, Tour de Romandie stage one highlights, Sky Sports 3
Thursday April 25, 03:00-04:30, Tour de Romandie stage one highlights, Sky Sports 4
Thursday April 25, 08:00-09:30, Tour de Romandie stage one highlights, Sky Sports 3
Thursday April 25, 15:00-16:30, Tour de Romandie stage two LIVE, Sky Sports 2
Thursday April 25, 22:00-23:30, Tour de Romandie stage two highlights, Sky Sports 4
Friday April 26, 04:00-05:30, Tour de Romandie stage two highlights, Sky Sports 4
Friday April 26, 09:00-10:30, Tour de Romandie stage two highlights, Sky Sports 3
Friday April 26, 15:00-16:30, Tour de Romandie stage three LIVE, Sky Sports 2
Friday April 26, 10:15-11:45, Tour de Romandie stage three highlights, Sky Sports 3
Saturday April 27, 09:00-10:30, Tour de Romandie stage three highlights, Sky Sports 3
Saturday April 27, 15:15-16:45, Tour de Romandie stage four LIVE, Sky Sports 2
Sunday April 28, 01:00-02:30, Tour de Romandie stage four highlights, Sky Sports 4
Sunday April 28, 09:00-10:30, Tour de Romandie stage four highlights, Sky Sports 4
Sunday April 28, 19:30-21:00, Tour de Romandie stage five highlights, Sky Sports 4
Bradley Wiggins topped the Romandie podium in 2012
Tour de Romandie: Recent winners
2012: Bradley Wiggins (GBr)
2011: Cadel Evans (Aus)
2010: Simon Spilak (Slo)
2009: Roman Kreuziger (Cze)
2008: Andreas Kloden (Ger)
2007: Thomas Dekker (Ned)
2006: Cadel Evans (Aus)
2005: Santiago Botero (Col)
2004: Tyler Hamilton (USA)
2003: Tyler Hamilton (USA)
2002: Dario Frigo (Ita)
Tour de Romandie: Last year’s top ten (2012)
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky in 18-05-40
2. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Barracuda at 12 secs
3. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar at 36 secs
4. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 45 secs
5. Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky at 50 secs
6. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana at 59 secs
7. Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale at 1-03
8. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 1-13
9. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana at 1-14
10. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Rabobank at 1-15
Tour de Romandie official website