Five things to look out for at the Tour de Romandie 2022
Six days of racing will see the climbers and the time triallists vie for victory in Switzerland
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OLD BRITISH STALWARTS HOPING TO REDISCOVER FORM
Twelve months ago, Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) appeared to be approaching somewhere near his Tour de France-winning form of old when he won the overall title at the Tour de Romandie.
Since then, however, the Welshman’s results have regressed. His continued strong form following another promising podium finish at the Critérium du Dauphiné did not carry through into the Tour de France , where he crashed, and he has made a slow start to racing this season.
>>> Chris Froome: Being competitive at Tour de France would be a 'dream scenario'
In defending his Tour de Romandie crown, he’ll have a chance to again bounce back. There were signs at Itzulia Basque Country that he was riding into some kind of form, as he placed fifth in the opening time trial and did sterling work for Dani Martínez as a domestique, and now he’ll lead Ineos Grenadiers in the absence of their other stage race stars.
We might have a clearer picture of whether or not the 35-year-old is still capable of challenging for overall victories at the end of this week.
Another former winner hoping to rediscover something like his old form is Chris Froome (Israel-Premier Tech), who won back-to-back titles during his heyday in 2013 and 2014. For Froome the prognosis appears more pessimistic, considering just how long it’s been since he’s ridden at a competitive level.
But the 36-year-old has not given up on being able to ride the Tour de France this summer, and will be motivated to perform here to open up the possibility of doing so.
A PARCOURS FOR STRONG TIME TRIALLISTS
With UAE Team Emirates, Jumbo-Visma and Ineos Grenadiers all sending under-strength line-ups, there’s a real opportunity for other, less-fancied GC riders to claim a WorldTour stage race title at the Tour de Romandie this week.
In particular, those with a strong time trial must be getting especially excited, as there’s a total of 21km raced against the clock spread across two stages, a flat opening prologue in Lausanne, and a final stage split between a flat first half and uphill second.
It’s a route that certainly suits Damiano Caruso, who recently won the overall title at the Tour of Sicily. Whereas other top teams look noticeably weaker than usual, Bahrain-Victorious have the likes of Jack Haig, Gino Mader and Dylan Teuns to support Caruso, so if he can gain an advantage in the time trials, he should be well looked after on the climbs.
There’s also a chance for Ion Izagirre to achieve what would be a rare and hugely-appreciated WorldTour title for Cofidis. The Basque rider has a consistent record here, having placed in the top-10 on GC on four of his last five appearances, and could go better than his career-best finish of third considering the form he brings following a runner-up finish at Itzulia Basque Country.
In the absence of Tadej Pogačar, Brandon McNulty is likely to lead the line for UAE Team Emirates. Young prodigy Juan Ayuso is another contender for the team, but McNulty’s proven time trialling prowess might make him the team’s chief protected rider. This could be a first-ever WorldTour stage race victory for the young American rider.
And one outside bet to look out for is Rohan Dennis. Without his usual leaders Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard to work for, the Australian may have a rare chance of team leadership, and will surely be up there in the time trials. The big question is whether he can cling on the GC candidates on the climbs.
HIGUITA AMONG CLIMBERS HOPING TO STAY IN GC CONTENTION
While the amount of time trialling will make it difficult for the pure climbers to stay in contention for overall victory, there are opportunities for them to make up enough time.
In particular, stage four looks like a real brute, with five climbs in total classified as category one, including a mountain top finish at Zinal. The time gaps here ought to be big, and possibly enough for any climber who manages to limit their losses in the time trials to take overall victory.
Following his overall victory at the Volta a Catalunya, Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe) is arguably the most in-form climber at the race. Though the Colombian had to pull out of the following Itzulia Basque Country, he returned to racing on Sunday to place a very impressive fifth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and the punchy attributes he demonstrated there might also bid him well should he try to gain time on some of the hilly stages either side of the key mountain top finish, especially stage three.
Ben O’Conor (Agr2r Citroën) won a comparable mountain stage to Romandie’s queen stage at La Molina during the Volta a Catalunya, so should therefore also be a top contender, especially taking into account his win at the Tour de Jura Cyclist classic last week.
Depending on how the race unfolds, UAE Team Emirates and Jumbo-Visma may switch strategies to rally around their more natural climbers, the former with Juan Ayuso, and the latter with Steven Kruijswijk, even if it has now been a long time since the Dutchman had his best climbing legs.
EXPECT MORE DRAMA AS PINOT IS BACK RACING
Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) is back, and with him the usual fanfare of drama and emotional roller-coasters that always seem to accompany him.
His Tour of the Alps last week featured a vintage Pinot arc , beginning with the heartbreak of a near miss to Miguel Ángel López (Astana Qazaqstan), and ending in elation as he made up for that defeat a mere day later with a stage win.
In many ways the Tour of the Alps outcome was the reverse of what normally happens with Pinot, as it involved a great comeback following a setback, rather than huge promise deflated by a collapse.
The next step for Pinot, who is only just returning to his best following almost two years beset by injury, is to challenge for an overall title, which may be his ambition at the Tour de Romandie considering his very impressive condition during those final two days at the Tour of the Alps.
This is a race he has usually excelled at, never finishing lower than 12th in any of his last five appearances here, and placing second behind Nairo Quintana the last time he rode here (albeit way back in 2016).
If a sustained GC bid is beyond the Frenchman for now, then team-mate Michael Storer would likely make a very capable deputy for Groupama-FDJ, and has arguably earned the right to be the protected rider having finished second overall at the Tour of the Alps.
PUNCHY BATTLES FOR STAGE WINS
As has been the case in recent editions of the Tour de Romandie, there really isn’t much on offer for the sprinters. Sandwiched between the two time trials and the queen stage are three rolling stages, of which only stage two looks like it could finish in a sprint, and even then only at a push.
There is therefore a paucity of sprinters on the start list, although young Brit Ethan Vernon (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) is set to ride, and will therefore be a favourite to repeat his recent breakthrough success at the Volta a Catalunya, along with the more experienced sprinter Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates).
Instead of the sprinters, it’s the puncheurs who should be the leading contenders for a haul of stage wins. The uphill finish at the climax of stage one in particular suits recent Flèche Wallonne winner Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Victorious), March Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) - who’s coming into form again having made the top ten at Liege-Bastogne-Liege - and Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers).
Those riders are likely also to be vying for the honours on the rolling stage three, which is pitched somewhere between a day for the puncheurs and for a GC contest. The likes of Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech), Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Ruben Guerreiro (EF Education-EasyPost) could all come into their own here, and possibly also ride their way into GC contention.
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Stephen Puddicombe is a freelance journalist for Cycling Weekly , who regularly contributes to our World Tour racing coverage with race reports, news stories, interviews and features. Outside of cycling, he also enjoys writing about film and TV - but you won't find much of that content embedded into his CW articles.
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Tour de Romandie 2022 - Route, predictions and contenders
Who will take victory in the 2022 Tour de Romandie, the week-long stage race in Switzerland featuring Giro d'Italia and Tour de France contenders?
Words: Katy Madgwick
Photos: Getty Images
The 75 th Tour de Romandie takes place from Tuesday April 26th to Sunday May 1st. Staged in the French-speaking Romandy region of Switzerland, the race has been held annually since its inception in 1947, with the exception of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The final multi-stage race before the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de Romandie is often used as preparation for the teams and riders that will head to Italy to fight it out for the maglia rosa. In the past it has been be seen as a key indicator of success in the Tour de France – most recently Cadel Evans, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome won both races in the same year, in 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively, although it has been nine years since this double has been repeated.
The race consists of six stages and offers tests of all varieties, including opportunities for sprinters, punchers and climbers. It’s topped and tailed by rides against the clock – beginning with a short prologue and finishing with an individual time-trial. Whilst renowned for its stunning mountain stages, the race is usually won by a strong time-triallist.
Related: 2022 Giro d'Italia Preview
Prologue: Lausanne – Lausanne (5.1km ITT)
STAGE 1 – LA GRANDE BÉROCHE – ROMONT (178km)
The stage finishes with two local loops of the Romont area, each just under 40km and taking in a double ascent of the Massonens climb. It’s a stage suited to a spritely breakaway, and with a summit finish into the town of Romont it might be a day for a puncheur to take victory.
STAGE 2 – ECHALLENS – ECHALLENS (168.2km)
The day begins uphill, and is another day of ups and downs, but with the third category La Praz ascent almost perfectly bisecting the route profile, there is plenty of time for the sprinters’ teams to chase down any hopeful baroudeurs and allow the opportunity for a bunch sprint finish.
STAGE 3 – VALBROYE – VALBROYE (165.1km)
The stage travels around the local hills with barely a suggestion of flat all day. It will appeal to punchy riders and breakaway artists, but with just one mountainous stage left before the final time trial, expect some movement among the GC riders too.
STAGE 4 – AIGLE – ZINAL (180.1km)
With over 3000m of ascent on the cards, the first 55km or so of flat riding would be welcomed, however the breakaway will fight hard to establish themselves with one final chance for the climbers to shine, and the lion’s share of points in the KOM competition up for grabs.
Then the climbing begins in earnest. Five category one climbs and one category two will test the riders and separate the GC contenders from the bunch as they aim to gain as much time as possible going into the final time-trial. The race ascends into the region’s stunning ski resorts and with an uphill finish into Zinal, it’s a true beast of a day befitting the Tour de Romandie.
STAGE 5 – AIGLE – VILLARS (15.8km)
The final outcome of the GC race will not be decided until after the time-trial has concluded – expect a reshuffling of top positions and possibly even a new leader rounding out the week in the green leader’s jersey.
While Ineos Grenadiers have been dominating the headlines following their fantastic Spring Classics performances, they have been quietly amassing strong performances in stage races too. Dani Martínez won at Itzulia Basque Country and Eddie Dunbar at Coppi e Bartali, and they’ve had a range of stage wins along the way from the likes of Magnus Sheffield, Carlos Rodríguez and Ethan Hayter. They bring a young, exciting team to Romandy in support of defending champion Geraint Thomas, including Sheffield and Hayter, along with German sprinter Kim Heiduk, Eddie Dunbar and Lucas Plapp. Whether they opt to work for the veteran or hedge their bets and give one of the young guns a run at the GC, there’s no doubt they will animate the race along the way.
Primož Roglič is a two-time previous winner of the race but he doesn’t attend this year; he has been struggling with a knee injury and in his stead, Jumbo Visma send most of his Tour de France team along to get some racing in their legs. With time-trialling playing an integral part in the GC competition, Rohan Dennis may well be leader for the team, with an in-form Steven Kruijswijk providing another option and Sepp Kuss as mountain super-domestique.
UAE Team Emirates seem to suffer from a lack of leadership without Tadej Pogačar present, as was seen at Volta a Catalunya, and once again they will arrive in Romandy with a number of leadership options. With the likes of Juan Ayuso, Marc Hirschi and Brandon McNulty (above) all showing good form so far this season, it remains to be seen whether this young team can unite behind one leader, or whether they will once again throw everything at the metaphorical wall and see what sticks.
A number of riders who have fared well in other mountainous stage races will offer a stiff challenge to the front runners. Ion Izagirre came second in the GC at Itzulia and is one of a number of riders reanimating Cofidis in the 2022 season. Damiano Caruso won the Tour of Sicily riding for a select Italian squad; at Romandie he is supported by a strong team including super-domestique Gino Mäder. Bora-hansgrohe’s Sergio Higuita won the Volta a Catalunya although he retired from Itzulia so his condition remains to be seen.
EF Education-EasyPost bring a team packed with climbing talent. They are likely to go for GC with Rigoberto Urán but with Neilson Powless, Mark Padun and Odd Christian Eiking among their number, they have chances for stage wins too.
Other contenders include Groupama-FDJ who bring a strong climbing contingent including Thibaut Pinot and Michael Storer, both of whom have ridden well this week at the Tour of the Alps. Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl will hunt stages with the likes of Mattia Cattaneo and Remy Cavagna for the time-trials and Mikkel Honoré and Mauro Schmid for longer climbing stages. Israel Premier-Tech have a stage winner from last year, Michael Woods, among their ranks, along with Jakob Fuglsang and Chris Froome.
It’s a tough one to call but with the right combination of climbing ability and tim- trialling chops, if his team are able to get their act together and work as a unit, we think UAE Team Emirates’ Brandon McNulty could edge out strong opposition from Jumbo Visma, Ineos and Bora to take the overall victory at Romandie.
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Tour de Romandie Route, Stages and Results 2022
Tour de Romandie 2022: Riders
World Tour Teams
AG2R Citroën Ben O’Connor, Bob Jungels, Michael Schär, Geoffrey Bouchard, Aurélien Paret-Peintre, Nans Peters, Lawrence Naesen
Astana Qazaqstan Team Valerio Conti, Dmitriy Gruzdev, Antonio Nibali, Harold Tejada, Andrey Zeits, Stefan de Bod, Aleksandr Riabushenko
Bahrain Victorious Damiano Caruso, Gino Mäder, Dylan Teuns, Luis León Sánchez, Stephen Williams, Johan Price-Pjetersen, Hermann Pernsteiner
BORA – hansgrohe Aleksandr Vlasov, Sergio Higuita, Maximilian Schachmann, Felix Großschartner, Patrick Konrad, Anton Palzer, Frederik Wandahl
Cofidis Ion Izagirre, Simon Geschke, Sander Armée, Thomas Champion, Rubén Fernández, Tom Bohli, Davide Villella
EF Education – Easy Post Rigoberto Uran, Ben Healy, Neilson Powless, Sean Quinn, Georg Steinhauser
Groupama – FDJ Thibaut Pinot, Michael Storer, Rudy Molard, Matteo Badilatti, Quentin Pacher, Sébastien Reichenbach, Anthony Roux
INEOS Grenadiers Geraint Thomas, Ethan Hayter, Laurens De Plus, Andrey Amador, Luke Plapp, Magnus Sheffield, Brandon Rivera
Intermarché – Wanty-Gobert Louis Meintjes, Rein Taaramäe, Théo Delacroix, Quinten Hermans, Laurens Huys, Julius Johansen, Baptiste Planckaert
Israel – Premier Tech Chris Froome, Jakob Fuglsang, Michael Woods, Patrick Bevin, Alex Cataford, Krists Neilands, Corbin Strong
Jumbo – Visma Steven Kruijswijk, Robert Gesink, Rohan Dennis, Sepp Kuss, Michel Hessmann, Gijs Leemreize, Timo Roosen
Lotto Soudal Filippo Conca, Steff Cras, Sébastien Grignard, Andreas Kron, Viktor Verschaeve, Xandres Vervloesem
Movistar Carlos Verona, Gregor Mühlberger, Abner González, Johan Jacobs, Lluís Mas, Óscar Rodríguez, Einer Rubio
Quick Step – Alpha Vinyl Rémi Cavagna, Mattia Cattaneo, Josef Cerny, Mikkel Frølich Honoré, James Knox, Mauro Schmid, Ethan Vernon
Team BikeExchange Jayco Cameron Meyer, Jesús David Peña, Sam Bewley, Amund Grøndahl Jansen, Dion Smith, Jan Maas, Matteo Sobrero
Team DSM Marco Brenner, Romain Combaud, Andreas Leknessund, Frederik Rodenberg, Marius Mayrhofer, Tim Naberman, Martijn Tusveld
Trek – Segafredo Antwan Tolhoek, Antonio Tiberi, Julien Bernard, Gianluca Brambilla, Kenny Elissonde, Alexander Kamp
UAE Emirates Fernando Gaviria, Brandon McNulty, Marc Hirschi, Jan Polanc, Juan Ayuso, Finn Fisher-Black, Ivo Oliveira
ProTeams Equipo Kern Pharma Roger Adrià, Francisco Galván, Urko Berrade, Héctor Carretero, José Félix Parra, Raúl García Pierna, Jaime Castrillo
Switzerland Yannis Voisard, Mathias Flückiger, Filippo Colombo, Antoine Debons, Valère Thiébaud, Nils Brun, Dario Lillo
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- 5.1 .. We will be back tomorrow.
- 5.1 .. Thanks for following our LiveStats feed.
- 5.1 7 .. Number of different nationalities in the top-10 of today.
- 5.1 .. Third place for GROßSCHARTNER Felix (BORA - hansgrohe).
- 5.1 .. DENNIS Rohan (Jumbo-Visma) comes in second place.
- 5.1 .. HAYTER Ethan (INEOS Grenadiers) wins!
- 5.1 .. 4th time for THOMAS Geraint (INEOS Grenadiers) at finish in 6.02,36 (50.866 km/h).
- 5.1 .. 3rd time for THOMAS Geraint (INEOS Grenadiers) at time point 1 in 4.20,10 (49.826 km/h).
- 5.1 .. 58% of PCS game players picked THOMAS Geraint (INEOS Grenadiers) in their team for today. 58%
- 5.1 .. All riders have started!
- 5.1 .. THOMAS Geraint (INEOS Grenadiers) just started.
- 5.1 .. 12th time for CAVAGNA Rémi (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) at time point 1 in 4.25,94 (48.732 km/h).
- 5.1 .. 94% of PCS game players picked CAVAGNA Rémi (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) in their team for today. 94%
- 5.1 .. CAVAGNA Rémi (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) just started.
- 5.1 .. 105th time for WOODS Michael (Israel - Premier Tech) at finish in 6.34,02 (46.779 km/h).
- 5.1 .. 2nd time for DENNIS Rohan (Jumbo-Visma) at finish in 5.56,71 (51.672 km/h).
- 5.1 .. 5th time for OLIVEIRA Ivo (UAE Team Emirates) at time point 1 in 4.23,07 (49.264 km/h).
- 5.1 .. URÁN Rigoberto (EF Education-EasyPost) just started.
- 5.1 .. 2nd time for DENNIS Rohan (Jumbo-Visma) at time point 1 in 4.16,31 (50.563 km/h).
- 5.1 .. Head to head on TT results. DENNIS Rohan same race results 1 career TT points 3393 TT wins 38 HAYTER Ethan same race results 0 career TT points 199 TT wins 3
- 5.1 .. 7th time for SCHMID Mauro (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) at finish in 6.06,26 (50.324 km/h).
- 5.1 .. DENNIS Rohan (Jumbo-Visma) just started.
- 5.1 .. 4th time for SCHMID Mauro (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) at time point 1 in 4.23,45 (49.193 km/h).
- 5.1 .. 59% of players picked CARUSO Damiano (Bahrain - Victorious) in their team for the final GC. 59%
- 5.1 .. CARUSO Damiano (Bahrain - Victorious) just started.
- 5.1 .. The last time trial victory for JUNGELS Bob (AG2R Citroën Team) was 614 days ago ( National Championships Luxembourg - ITT )
- 5.1 .. 24th time for JUNGELS Bob (AG2R Citroën Team) at time point 1 in 4.29,83 (48.03 km/h).
- 5.1 .. SCHMID Mauro (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) just started.
- 5.1 .. The last time trial victory for ARNDT Nikias (Team DSM) was 3630 days ago ( Tour de Berlin | Stage 2 (ITT) )
- 5.1 .. 6th time for ARNDT Nikias (Team DSM) at time point 1 in 4.24,98 (48.909 km/h).
- 5.1 .. 9th time for POWLESS Neilson (EF Education-EasyPost) at time point 1 in 4.26,32 (48.663 km/h).
- 5.1 .. Crash by THIÉBAUD Valère (Switzerland)
- 5.1 .. HAYTER Ethan (INEOS Grenadiers) finished 12 times in the top-10 out of 14 career time trial starts. 86%
- 5.1 .. 64% of PCS game players picked HAYTER Ethan (INEOS Grenadiers) in their team for today. 64%
- 5.1 1 .. New best time for HAYTER Ethan (INEOS Grenadiers) at finish in 5.52,79 (52.246 km/h)!
- 5.1 1 .. New best time for HAYTER Ethan (INEOS Grenadiers) at time point 1 in 4.13,63 (51.098 km/h)!
- 5.1 .. HAYTER Ethan (INEOS Grenadiers) just started.
- 5.1 .. 9th time for BEVIN Patrick (Israel - Premier Tech) at time point 1 in 4.27,20 (48.502 km/h).
- 5.1 .. 8th time for SHEFFIELD Magnus (INEOS Grenadiers) at finish in 6.08,51 (50.017 km/h).
- 5.1 .. The last victory for BEVIN Patrick (Israel - Premier Tech) was 9 days ago ( Presidential Cycling Tour of Türkiye )
- 5.1 .. BEVIN Patrick (Israel - Premier Tech) just started.
- 5.1 20 .. SHEFFIELD Magnus (INEOS Grenadiers) is 20 years and 7 days old.
- 5.1 .. The last victory for SHEFFIELD Magnus (INEOS Grenadiers) was 13 days ago ( De Brabantse Pijl - La Flèche Brabançonne )
- 5.1 .. 2nd time for SHEFFIELD Magnus (INEOS Grenadiers) at time point 1 in 4.22,78 (49.318 km/h).
- 5.1 .. 7th time for JOHANSEN Julius (Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux) at time point 1 in 4.27,20 (48.502 km/h).
- 5.1 .. ČERNÝ Josef (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) just started.
- 5.1 .. 4th time for HEALY Ben (EF Education-EasyPost) at time point 1 in 4.25,27 (48.855 km/h).
- 5.1 .. FROOME Chris (Israel - Premier Tech) just started.
- 5.1 .. 2nd time for VERNON Ethan (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) at time point 1 in 4.23,67 (49.152 km/h).
- 5.1 1 .. New best time for GROßSCHARTNER Felix (BORA - hansgrohe) at finish in 6.02,17 (50.893 km/h)!
- 5.1 1 .. New best time for GROßSCHARTNER Felix (BORA - hansgrohe) at time point 1 in 4.22,26 (49.416 km/h)!
- 704 704 2007
- 598 598 2008
- 745 745 2009
- 692 692 2010
- 696 696 2011
- 737 737 2012
- 953 953 2013
- 877 877 2014
- 919 919 2015
- 939 939 2016
- 619 619 2017
- 563 563 2018
- 563 563 2019
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- 5.1 .. 19.3% (26 out of 135) of the riders on the start today have done no time trial this season. 19.3% 19.3%
- 5.1 .. 3rd time for STEINHAUSER Georg (EF Education-EasyPost) at finish in 6.06,18 (50.335 km/h).
- 5.1 1 .. New best time for STEINHAUSER Georg (EF Education-EasyPost) at time point 1 in 4.24,53 (48.992 km/h)!
- 5.1 .. 3rd time for AYUSO Juan (UAE Team Emirates) at finish in 6.06,70 (50.264 km/h).
- 5.1 .. 2nd time for AYUSO Juan (UAE Team Emirates) at time point 1 in 4.27,19 (48.504 km/h).
- 5.1 .. AYUSO Juan (UAE Team Emirates) just started.
- URÁN Rigoberto
- GESINK Robert
- 5.1 .. SOBRERO Matteo (Team BikeExchange - Jayco) finished in exactly the same time as SCHACHMANN Maximilian (BORA - hansgrohe)
- 5.1 1 .. New best time for SOBRERO Matteo (Team BikeExchange - Jayco) at finish in 6.05,96 (50.366 km/h)!
- 5.1 .. 2nd time for SOBRERO Matteo (Team BikeExchange - Jayco) at time point 1 in 4.28,06 (48.347 km/h).
- 5.1 .. HIGUITA Sergio (BORA - hansgrohe) just started.
- 5.1 .. 5th time for NEILANDS Krists (Israel - Premier Tech) at time point 1 in 4.36,75 (46.829 km/h).
- 5.1 .. 2nd time for MCNULTY Brandon (UAE Team Emirates) at finish in 6.09,47 (49.887 km/h).
- 5.1 .. 69 riders out of 137 starting make their debut in Tour de Romandie . 50% goto debutants
- 5.1 .. 2nd time for MCNULTY Brandon (UAE Team Emirates) at time point 1 in 4.29,75 (48.044 km/h).
- 5.1 .. 3rd time for KUSS Sepp (Jumbo-Visma) at time point 1 in 4.35,96 (46.963 km/h).
- 5.1 .. 28% of PCS game players picked MCNULTY Brandon (UAE Team Emirates) in their team for today. 28%
- 5.1 .. MCNULTY Brandon (UAE Team Emirates) just started.
- 5.1 .. 2nd time for KNOX James (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) at time point 1 in 4.34 (47.299 km/h).
- 5.1 1 .. New best time for SCHACHMANN Maximilian (BORA - hansgrohe) at finish in 6.05,96 (50.366 km/h)!
- 5.1 .. The last time trial victory for SCHACHMANN Maximilian (BORA - hansgrohe) was 1114 days ago ( Itzulia Basque Country | Stage 1 (ITT) )
- 5.1 1 .. New best time for SCHACHMANN Maximilian (BORA - hansgrohe) at time point 1 in 4.25,42 (48.828 km/h)!
- 5.1 .. SCHACHMANN Maximilian (BORA - hansgrohe) just started.
- 5.1 .. The last time trial victory for GONZÁLEZ Abner (Movistar Team) was 304 days ago ( National Championships Puerto Rico - ITT )
- 5.1 .. GONZÁLEZ Abner (Movistar Team) just started.
- 5.1 .. LILLO Dario (Switzerland) just started.
- 5.1 .. First rider to start is LILLO Dario (Switzerland) at 15:10. local time
- 5.1 .. Welcome at the LiveStats feed for Tour de Romandie | Prologue .
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77e édition du 23 au 28 avril 2024
De gauche à droite : Matteo Jorgenson (2 e ), Adam Yates (1 er ), Damiano Caruso (3 e )
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Tour de France Femmes 2024 - The GC favourites form guide
Analysing the key riders to watch in pursuit of the overall victory
Now that the course for the 2024 Tour de France Femmes has been announced, with the Alpe d'Huez as its crowning climb, the time has come to examine which riders are likely to rise to the top in this third edition of the race, which takes place from August 12-18.
The first four stages and three days of the 946km race play out in the Netherlands and Belgium, with the flat terrain playing to the sprinters' hands for the first two, then a short time trial that could start to pull out some gaps in the overall before the race heads into the undulating terrain for stage 4 and stage 5, where it finally reaches France. Then the categorised climbs will start to make their presence felt on stage 6, but it is a downhill run to the finish at Morteau. Though after that, there is no reprieve, with stage 7 finishing atop Le Grand-Bornand and stage 8 on the iconic climb of Alpe d'Huez.
With just a few time trial kilometres, 6.3 to be exact, and two climb-heavy summit-finish stages to provide the finale, there is no doubt it is the riders who thrive on the long steep slopes that will be in prime position as the third edition of the Tour de France Femmes heads towards the Alps for the first time.
Tour de France Femmes 2024 - Everything you need to know All the route details of the 2024 Tour de France Femmes Alpe d'Huez – The twists and turns of the 21-bend finale of the 2024 Tour de France Femmes
Particularly after her powerful performance on the Col du Tourmalet in 2023, defending champion Demi Vollering (SD Worx) has to remain firmly at the top of the favourites list. Still, given there is no concluding time trial this year where the powerful time trialist can claw back any missteps in the mountains there is opportunity for challengers to turn up the pressure cooker on those final two brutal days.
The course has set the scene for a build toward an exciting but unpredictable finale so it's time to take a closer look at the riders that are likely to be the star players as the drama unfolds.
Cyclingnews will have live coverage of all eight stages of the 2024 Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, along with race reports, galleries, results, and exclusive features and news.
1. Demi Vollering
- Team: SD Worx
- Tour de France results: 1st overall in 2023, 1x stage win in 2023, 2nd overall in 2022, mountain classification in 2022
Demi Vollering lines up as the defending champion at the 2024 Tour de France Femmes after showing her strength and consistency across the early stages of last year's event, dominating the decisive Col du Tourmalet and then finishing second in the closing time trial to win the overall title.
She is backed by the world's no. 1 team SD Worx, which supported her best season to date with victories at Strade Bianche, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Vuelta a Burgos and Tour de Romandie. While in 2024 she may not have Lotte Kopecky, who stood alongside her on the 2023 Tour de France Femmes overall podium, the team has an impressive array of climbing talent to act as back-up, including the developing young riders of Anna Shackley and Niamh Fisher-Black.
The Dutch rider also showed her abilities in the high mountains and long finishing ascents, particularly with wins atop Lagos de Covadonga and Mirador de Peñas Llanas at La Vuelta Femenina, Lagunas de Neila at Vuelta a Burgos, Col du Tourmalet at the Tour de France Femmes, and at Torgon at the Tour de Romandie.
She will be embarking on her sixth season of racing, her fourth on the Women's WorldTour, and has grown into one of the world's best one-day racers, time triallists and general classification contenders.
Vollering has not confirmed her 2024 season targets, but it would be no surprise to see her victorious at La Vuelta Femenina, Giro d'Italia Women and Tour de France Femmes, should she choose to target all three Grand Tours.
At 26, Vollering is just realising her biggest strengths and we can anticipate her to lead the Dutch dominance of women's world-class bike racing for another decade.
2. Kasia Niewiadoma
- Team: Canyon-SRAM
- Tour de France results: 3rd in 2023, mountains classification in 2023, 3rd overall in 2022
Kasia Niewiadoma has twice finished third overall on the podium at the Tour de France Femmes, and while both were hard-fought achievements, it was the 2023 edition that really showed her progress as a general classification contender.
In 2022, Niewiadoma stated that she spent much of her off-season training strengthening her abilities in the long, high mountains, while in 2023, it was her time trial strength that she tapped into.
She also took more risks, none more apparent than her attack on the Col d’Aspin descent in a courageous bid for victory atop the Col du Tourmalet. She finished second, only to Demi Vollering, and then used her well-trained power in the closing time trial to finish ninth. Although Lotte Kopecky jumped ahead of her in the overall classification on the final day, she finished third overall, holding off the previous year's winner Annemiek van Vleuten in fourth.
Her consistent finishes over the mountain passes during the Tour de France Femmes also meant that she took home the mountain classification's polka-dot jersey.
Niewiadoma is one of the most consistent athletes among the women's peloton, often finishing among the top three and top five at the biggest races across one-day races and stage races. However, she regularly seemed to be edged out for the victory. Her last big road race win was at Amstel Gold Race and a stage at the Women's Tour in 2019.
In a spectacular turn of events this fall, Niewiadoma powered to victory at the UCI Gravel World Championships, claiming the world title and donning the rainbow jersey in Veneto. It was ' a victory that repays an entire season ' she said
3. Elisa Longo Borghini
- Team: Lidl-Trek
- Tour de France results: DNF 2023, 6th overall in 2022
Elisa Longo Borghini's all-in approach to racing often makes her a favourite for any one-day race or stage race throughout the season. Likewise, her consistency in the time trials and on long mountain passes also makes her one of the best general classification riders in the world.
In her first Tour de France Femmes in 2022, Longo Borghini finished in the top 10 in six of the eight stages, and was one of the event's star protagonists. Challenging back-to-back mountain stages at Le Markstein and La Planche des Belles Filles, which closed out the event, however, cost her dearly in the overall classification, as many of the best climbers struggled at the high pace set by the overall champion that year Annemiek van Vleuten. As a result, Longo Borghini dropped from 4th to sixth overall.
Her performances in the Grand Tours can be unpredictable, at times, but she has often shown her biggest strengths at the Giro d'Italia Women where she finished second overall in 2017 and third overall in 2020.
She was in great form this year, sitting in second overall as one of Annemiek van Vleuten's biggest challengers for the maglia rosa when she crashed on stage 5 and was forced to abandon. She returned to competition for the Tour de France Femmes but was also forced to abandon ahead of stage 7 due to a skin infection .
There are a couple of stages that look well-suited to Longo Borghini's puncheur-style, hilly mid-stages that include stage 4 from Valkenburg to Liège, stage 6 from Remiremont to Morteau, and her ability to muscle over the biggest climbs will keep her in contention on stage 6 into Le Grand Bornand and on stage 7 to the top of Alpe d'Huez.
Longo Borghini didn't get the chance to really show her true potential in the two big stage races of the 2023 season, but she will no doubt return healthy in 2024 and ready to race at her best.
4. Juliette Labous
- Team: Team dsm-firmenich
- Tour de France results: 4th overall in 2022, 5th overall in 2023
Juliette Labous has become the French fan favourite at her home Tour de France and a podium hopeful, once again, for the 2024 edition.
She is a quiet contender, having slowly but steadily risen to become one of the best riders in the world over the previous seven seasons with the various versions of team Sunweb, Team DSM and now Team dsm-firmenich.
The team supports Labous' ambition to compete in her favourite Ardennes Classics while placing a major focus on the Spain-based Women's WorldTour races Vuelta a Burgos, Itzulia Women, and summer stage races Giro d'Italia Donne and Tour de France Femmes with an end-of-season focus on the World Championships.
Her steady progress has paid off, as the Frenchwoman has finished 4th at the Tour de France Femmes in 2022 and 5th in 2023. While those results are impressive, it has been the in-between performances where we can truly gauge her success with the overall victory at Vuelta a Burgos in 2022, the summit stage 7 victory atop Passo del Maniva at the Giro d'Italia Women, and a telling second place overall at the Giro in 2023.
She has made a conscious effort to improve her power on the climbs and in the time trial, which has made her a more complete rider suited to the longer stage races.
Her trajectory in the last two years has only just begun to spike, and at 24 years old, she is both the present and future of French cycling.
5. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio
- Team: AG Insurance-Soudal-QuickStep
- Tour de France results: 6th overall in 2023
Deciding against retirement and switching teams from SD Worx to AG Insurance-Soudal-QuickStep for the 2023 season was probably one of the best decisions Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio has made in her cycling career.
It seems to have ignited a new chapter for her that allows her to excel as an undisputed leader, select major season targets with full team support, and experience the thrill of success, while also allowing her to give back to the younger riders on a three-tiered development team.
Almost as soon as she signed her new contract, she won the Tour de Romandie at the end of 2022, then started the season with a victory at Setmana Valenciana, a victory at Durango-Durango, third overall at Vuelta a Burgos, and second overall at the truncated CIC-Tour Féminin International des Pyrénées.
At the Tour de France Femmes, she truly filled the leadership role when she sat third overall from stages 2-4 and moved into second overall from stages 5-6. She drifted down to fifth on the summit of Col du Tourmalet on stage 7 and ended a strong 6th overall following the closing time trial.
The 2024 Tour de France Femmes could be even better for the South African all-rounder, who also excels in the Ardennes Classics. She will certainly be eyeing stage 4 from Valkenburg to Liège, and stage 6 from Remiremont to Morteau, but her true strengths will shine in Le Grand Bornand and on Alpe d'Huez.
6. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig
- Team: FDJ SUEZ
- Tour de France results: 7th overall in 2023, 7th overall in 2022, stage win in 2022
One of the most thrilling moments of watching Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig's cycling career was her stage 3 win on the steep finishing slopes into Épernay at the 2022 Tour de France Femmes.
The Danish champion patiently bided her time on the lower slopes of the ascent, as others burned their matches too soon. She then made her well-timed winning attack from five wheels back in a monstrous sprint up the Mur de Huy-esque final climb with her head down. As the fans cheered, treated to a spectacular finish, she passed Marianne Vos, Kasia Niewiadoma, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, and Elisa Longo Borghini to triumph in what was the biggest win of her career.
It was also one of the most dramatic moments of the entire 2022 season.
While Uttrupt Ludwig played much more conservatively in the 2023 edition, she ended with the same overall results, seventh two years in a row, and at the 2024 Tour de France Femmes perhaps we will see a combination of the two racing styles.
Uttrup Ludwig is a fan-favourite, not only for her charismatic personality but for also putting on a show of strong, aggressive racing. Look no further than her 5th-place performance at the 2023 UCI World Championships, eventually won by Lotte Kopecky, but where she played her cards all the way to the finish line.
Outside of the Tour de France, Uttrup Ludwig's 6th overall at the Giro d'Italia Women in 2018, 4th in 2020, 6th in 2022 and 6th in 2023, mean that she has a lot of experience competing against the best at the toughest stages races in the world.
7. Marta Cavalli
- Tour de France results: 19th overall in 2023, DNF in 2022
At the first edition of the Tour de France Femmes in 2022 the great hopes for the rider who had just taken the runner-up spot at the Giro d'Italia Donne came crashing down on stage 2. It took some time for Marta Cavalli to build back up after that devastating accident but given her solid top 20 in the race for yellow this season, which then led into overall victory at the Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l'Ardèche, it looks the rider is working her way back toward that sparkling form of the early half of 2022.
What's more the course this year is one that plays to the strengths of the 25 year old. The shorter individual time trial in 2024 works in her favour, with the Italian rider losing more than four minutes over the 22.6km in Pau in 2023. This edition she'll face just 6.3km of racing against the clock and the individual time trial taking place on the second day in Rotterdam, when there is also plenty of time left to work up the overall rankings.
The ability of the rider to keep pace with some of the best climbers in the world will hold her in good stead for the crucial duo of summit finishes, Le Grand Bornard and Alpe d'Huez, that decide the race.
Running to her advantage, also, is the team Cavalli will be surrounded by. Being French, FDJ-Suez will undoubtedly do whatever they can to be on the front foot at the Tour de France Femmes and they have some serious muscle on their roster to assist their key riders on those summit finish stages with riders like Évita Muzic and Grace Brown on the roster alongside potential team leaders Uttrup-Ludwig and Cavalli.
8. Gaia Realini
- Tour de France results: Yet to debut
In 2023 Gaia Realini managed to reach the podium of both the Giro d'Italia Donne and La Vuelta Feminina, and it seems only a matter of time until the talented young climber will add the Tour de France Femmes to that list.
The rider who joined Lidl-Trek from Isolmant-Premac-Vittoria at the start of this season has yet to debut at the French race. Elisa Longo-Borghini has been a deserving leader for the squad in the race for yellow the last two years, though her sixth place overall in 2022 turned to a DNF in 2023 after a challenging run in. Particularly with the course , that's probably an outcome that will encourage a multi-option strategy for the team in 2024.
The team has a number of climbing options, with Amanda Spratt for one taking tenth overall in 2023, but Realini seems made for them. The Italian is another one of those riders who will be happy to see some seriously tough climbing days to finish the tour and low time trial kilometres.
Her prowess on challenging summit was made all to clear at the start of the season when, in her first race with her new team, she was instrumental in supporting Elisa Longo Borghini to victory on the Jebel Hafeet climb at the UAE Tour, also taking second on the stage with the powerful effort. The strong results continued through the season, as on top of the Giro d'Italia Donne and La Vuelta Feminina, there was another third place overall at the Tour de l'Avenir Femmes, plus Realini also made it ito the podium at La Flèche Wallonne Femmes the Tour de l'Avenir Femmes and won a stage of La Vuelta Feminina and the Trofeo Oro in Euro.
9. Ane Santesteban
- Team: Laboral Kutxa-Fundacion Euskadi
- Tour de France results: 8th overall in 2023, 60th in 2022
Ane Santesteban stepped up as a key part of the climbing team when she joined Jayco-AlUla three years ago and with the Australian team this season she stepped into the top ten overall at both the Giro d'Italia Donne and Tour de France Femmes. What's more the eighth place finish in the race for yellow was delivered after a powerful performance on Col du Tourmalet, where she came seventh.
That highlighted her ability on the long climbs, which are taking centre stage in the 2024 edition. However, there is another element at play in 2024. Not only does the course suit her but after years of calling for a home team, she now has the chance to play a headlining role at Laboral Kutxa-Fundacion Euskadi, where she has signed for the next three years.
The Basque team didn't race the Tour de France Femmes in 2023, but they plan to step up the level significantly in 2024, strengthening the budget and roster and applying for a Women's WorldTour licence. There is little, however, that could do more to prove their arrival as a world class team than a strong showing as the world watches the battle for yellow unfold at the Tour de France Femmes.
10. Ricarda Bauernfeind
- Tour de France results: 9th overall in 2023, stage win in 2023
It was one memorable debut at the Tour de France Femmes in 2023, with a win on stage 5 and a strong tenth on the Col du Tourmalet. It was a performance that followed on from a fifth overall at La Vuelta Femenina, plus the strong results continued on through the remainder of the season, with seventh overall at the Tour of Scandinavia and sixth at the Tour de Romandie Féminin.
It is an impressive build through her first year as a professional, with the German rider quickly jumping to notice when Bauernfeind started out with the Canyon-SRAM development team in 2022 with podium spots on all three stages of the Vuelta Ciclista Andalucia Ruta Del Sol and overall. The quick rise up the ranks has delivered a strong second card for the WorldTour team, as while Niewiadoma is likely to take the brunt of the spotlight in 2024 it could well transition over in the years ahead.
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Simone is a degree-qualified journalist that has accumulated decades of wide-ranging experience while working across a variety of leading media organisations. She joined Cyclingnews as a Production Editor at the start of the 2021 season and has now moved into the role of Australia Editor. Previously she worked as a freelance writer, Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and as a correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg . Cycling was initially purely a leisure pursuit for Simone, who started out as a business journalist, but in 2015 her career focus also shifted to the sport.
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The Dutchwoman dominated 2023 along with her SD Worx squad, but there are plenty of riders waiting in the wings to knock her off the top spot in 2024.
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Demi Vollering was the undoubted queen of racing in 2023, winning more than anyone, including her first Tour de France Femmes and a rare Ardennes triple in the same season.
Vollering only turned professional in 2019, but the Dutch woman has quickly climbed the ranks of the cycling ladder.
Last year saw her grapple with the difficulties of leadership following the retirement of her mentor and leader Anna van der Breggen at the end of 2021. It was a difficult year at times, but she learned a lot through 2022.
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She put all that earned knowledge to good use this year to dominate the season, with few riders able to get close to her. Outside of her own teammates, Annemiek van Vleuten was the only rider to beat her in a stage race, and Silvia Persico was the only one to topple her in a one-day race.
With Van Vleuten, arguably her biggest rival in recent years, retiring at the end of this year, are there any riders that can consistently challenge Vollering in 2024?
Of course, there are. And, as Van Vleuten found out, setting such a high benchmark will only entice your rivals to work harder to beat you. Here are a few non-SD Worx riders who can take it to Vollering next year.
Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek)
While she didn’t beat Vollering in 2023 and suffered a lot of misfortune in the latter part of the season, Longo Borghini and her Lidl-Trek squad were among the few to really push Vollering and the SD Worx dominance.
Perhaps most memorably, Longo Borghini took it to Vollering at Liège-Bastogne-Liège with a well-timed attack on the descent of a climb and was only bridged across to thanks to some hard work from SD Worx.
It’s Longo Borghini’s attacking nous that makes her a particularly dangerous rider for Vollering, and indeed the rest of the peloton. It helps that she’s backed up by a strong Lidl-Trek team that has more than one card to play.
While the Italian is capable of performing in the grand tours, it’s the one-day classics where she poses the biggest threat and Longo Borghini will be keen to make an impression as soon as possible after being forced to miss the end of the 2023 season due to a skin infection.
Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM)
Niewiadoma’s 2023 palmarès shows that the Polish rider was a step behind Vollering and the dominant SD Worx squad for much of the year — particularly in the season’s stage races.
The 29-year-old was third behind Vollering and Marlen Reusser at Itzulia Women, fourth at the Tour de Suisse behind Reusser and Vollering — and Longo Borghini, third behind Vollering and Lotte Kopecky at the Tour de France Femmes and second behind Vollering at the Tour de Romandie.
Despite the lack of road wins, it was arguably one of Niewiadoma’s most successful seasons. However, she sometimes struggled with her confidence as she failed to turn her form into big wins.
Recent weeks have seen Niewiadoma hit a purple patch off-road, though, as she won the gravel world title and went on to win at Big Sugar. It was some much-needed success for Niewiadoma, and her rivals will need to watch out in 2024 as it may just boost her road performances.
Marta Cavalli (FDJ-Suez)
The last 18 months have been something of a rollercoaster for Cavalli after she came close to doing her own Ardennes triple in the spring of 2022 and then dramatically crashing out of the Tour de France Femmes a few months later. That crash left Cavalli with a severe concussion that would take months to deal with, forcing her to miss almost all of the remainder of that season.
The impact of the incident continued to plague her at the beginning of this year as she dealt with some fear in the bunch that left her struggling. After taking some time out during the early spring, Cavalli has been building back to her best, winning the shortened Tour Feminin Pyrénées and later the Tour de l’Ardèche.
With a solid season now under her belt, the crash is well behind her, and she will hopefully be near her best in 2024. At her peak, Cavalli could challenge Vollering across a variety of races, from the classics to the big stage races.
Liane Lippert (Movistar)
Though Lippert doesn’t have the same stage racing prowess as her outgoing teammate Van Vleuten, the German rider is a top-notch one-day racer and has the capabilities to go with Vollering at the classics.
Lippert moved to Movistar this year where she effectively shadowed her decorated teammate at a lot of races, preparing her for 2024 to step up into a wider leadership role.
She stepped into that role well and sometimes outperformed her teammate, taking second at Fleche Wallonne in the spring. Later in the year, Lippert claimed her first win (not including her national titles) in three years with victory on stage 2 of the Tour de France Femmes.
She added two more wins before the end of the year with a stage of the Tour de Romandie and the Tre Valli Varesine. Lippert will have more responsibility next year, but she has shown that she has the skillset to live up to that.
Gaia Realini (Lidl-Trek)
Realini was one of the biggest revelations of the 2023 season after stepping up to the WorldTour with Lidl-Trek. The 22-year-old Italian had already shown plenty of promise at her Isolmant-Premac-Vittoria team over the previous two seasons, but her performances in 2023 were a big step up.
She showed that she had some one-day pedigree with third at Fleche Wallonne and a top-10 at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, but it was the big stage races where she really came good.
At the Vuelta a España, she famously beat Van Vleuten in a photo finish and then pushed Vollering almost all the way up Lagos de Covadonga to take third overall. She then picked up the pieces for Lidl-Trek at the Giro d’Italia when Longo Borghini was forced to abandon following a crash and took third there, too.
Realini still needs to work on some of her race craft and her time trialing is a big weakness, but she’s already one of the strongest climbers in the peloton.
Ricarda Bauernfeind (Canyon-SRAM)
She might be something of a wildcard in this list, but along with Realini, Bauernfeind was one of the breakthrough stars in 2023. The 23-year-old had a slightly circuitous route to the top tier of cycling after choosing to quit racing for a bit to do college, but a deal to race with the Canyon-SRAM Generation squad put her on the fast track to the WorldTour.
The big performances came quickly and a fifth place at the Vuelta Femenina showed the potential she had against the best in the world. She went on to take a win at the Tour de France Femmes and then finished the race ninth overall as she supported her teammate Niewiadoma.
With a year of WorldTour racing now in the legs, she will hopefully take a step up next year and we may see her rubbing shoulders with Vollering and co much more often at the front of races.
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