Reigning champion, current king of stage racing, Froome started 2014 where he left off in 2013 – winning races. However, a back problem forced him out of Tirreno-Adriatico and has no doubt been a setback in his preparation. He was reasonable in Catalunya but the cracks are showing, and Froome needs a dominant Romandie in order to re-assert himself as the number one favourite for July and put his rivals back on the defensive.
World Champion and a man who has won the last two editions of the Tour de Suisse, Costa needs to start showing his stripes soon and where better to do it than in Switzerland. It looks like he is in good form after a strong Amstel Gold Race and with 3rd place last year in Romandie, Costa knows that Lampre hired him to win short stage races like this.
A huge talent, both for one day races and grand tours, it’s easy to forget the young Pole is just 23. Strade Bianche winner in 2014 as well as winning the overall in the Volta au Algarve and taking 2nd in the Tour of the Basque Country, there seems to be no stopping Kwiatkowski and a win in Romandie is certainly not beyond him.
The Columbians are back dominating the mountains in pro cycling and while Quintana gets most attention, Uran also has grand tour pedigree. A stage and 2nd overall in last year’s Giro proved this. 2014 started with 3rd in the Tour of Oman and Uran will be looking to impress as he battles with Kwiatkowski for the OPQS leadership.
Peraud switched to road racing late in his career and there is no doubt his palmares would be much more impressive had he done so earlier. Strong time-trialist and good climber, Peraud has all the attributes of a GC rider. Impressed earlier this year to win Criterium International and if things go his way, a Romandie victory is not beyond him.
It used to be joked that Fuglsang was the 3rd Schleck. This was deemed a compliment 3 years ago but doping bans (Frank) and loss of form (Andy) mean Fuglsang has overtaken the brothers since his move to Astana. He may not have the same climbing prowess as the grand tour men but 7th in last year’s Tour de France proved his staying power in big races. 4th in The Dauphine as well as 2012 wins in the Tour of Luxembourg and Tour of Austria show that he has a better chance of winning shorter stage races. Romandie should therefore suit him perfectly.
Frank has had moderate success in short stage races and tends to perform beyond expectation anytime he races in his home country. Has had better results in the Tour de Suisse than in Romandie but will be looking to leave his mark on the race while also working for Van Garderen
All is not well at Team Sky in terms of their GC specialists with Porte suffering illness that saw him leave Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of Catalunya. He has been pulled from leading the team at the Giro and while he would usually be a top favourite, this race could be more about getting back to full fitness for the Tasmanian.