[Underneath article was written before the start of the Tour de Romandie and has not been updated]
The Tour de Romandie used to be the last big test ahead of the Giro d’Italia, but those days are gone. There are zero GC riders who opt for the Tour de Romandie/Giro double this year. Most Giro contenders were active on the last week’s Tour of the Alps.
The Tour de Romandie kicks into gear with a prologue, which will surely open up some time gaps, as will the punchy finish of stage 2. Yet, in terms of the GC battle the last two days of actions are expected to be crucial.
Saturday’s Queen Stage takes in five climbs and an elevation of 4,160 metres. The last climb is 6.2 kilometres long and averages 7.1%, but the top is not the end of the stage. Still 7 kilometres to go, partly on descent, party uphill at moderate gradients.
The last day seems to be designed to put the GC upside down. It’s an ITT with a flat opening of 5.9 kilometres before the riders tackle a 9.9 kilometres climb with an average gradient of 8%. Uphill finish, this time.
Title holder Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome (2013, 2014) are the only former winners on the start list.
Favourites Tour de Romandie 2021
*** Aleksandr Vlasov, Geraint Thomas, Brandon McNulty, Dylan Teuns
** Steven Kruijswijk, Ion Izagirre, Sergio Higuita, Damiano Caruso
* Thibaut Pinot, Ben O’Connor, Gino Mäder, Michael Storer, Juan Ayuso