[The stage as described below has been shortened due to snow. The organization has taken the Simlpon pass out of the race and the departure town has been changed to Brigerbad, after the Simplon pass. The stage distance is now just 90 kilometres. The route from Brigerbad onwards is exactly as planned.]
Pretty soon after the start the riders cross the border to Italy and after a 50 kilometre spin in Giro-land they cross back in Switzerland. While on Italian soil they reach a height of 830 altimetres in the hamlet of Druogno.
That is by no means the highest point of the day however, that award goes to Col du Simplon, right on the Italian-Suisse border, a category 1 climb at 2,005 altimeters, reached after 88 kilometres of racing. In the Tour de Suisse 2012, the same climb was tagged hors category. Apparently it’s gotten a little easier!
New Start: Brigerbad
After 113 kilometres the riders arrive in Brigerbad an at kilometre 160 kilometres they cross the finish line in Sion for the first time. They then begin a local round. Upon leaving Sion the road immediately goes up with the gradient constantly increasing towards Lens. This 2nd-category climb is crested at 1,128 altimetres and after 185.6 kilometres. Following a short, steep descent, the remaining 10 kilometres are flat.
The arrival town of Sion is postcard material par excellence. The medieval city on the Rhône is situated in the shadow of the cliffs of Valeria and Tourbillion. The latter is centered around a ruined castle from the 13th century. For centuries, pilgrims like to wipe their feet in Notre Dame de Valere, a pilgrimage church dating back to the 12th and 13th century, located in the old town.
The stage begins at 15:15 CET and the finish is expected around 17:30.
Tour de Romandie 2014 stage 1: Images and more
Click on the images to zoom.