Preparations continue in Romandie
Preparations for this year's Grand Tours continue in earnest on Tuesday with the start of the prestigious Tour of Romandie.
The six-day race will celebrate its 66th edition as the elite of stage racing convene in the French-speaking part of Switzerland with just two months to go to the season's showpiece event.
The race kicks off with an individual time trial prologue around Lausanne on the shores of Lake Geneva before ending on Sunday with another ITT around Crans-Montana.
In between, four stages will see the riders travel into the Jura mountains and Alpine ranges of western Switzerland, over the border into France and back again, with routes from Morges to La Chaux-de-Fonds, Montbeliard to Moutier, La Neuveville to Charmey and Bulle to Sion.
The Tour of Romandie has been running since 1947 and usually serves as an opportunity for riders to test their form ahead of the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France.
Other notable riders include Damiano Cunego, Denis Menchov, Tony Martin and Vladimir Karpets, all of whom have finished as runner-up in previous editions.
Australia's Evans won the race last year before going on to claim the Tour. Ireland's Stephen Roche has won the race three times - the most in its 66-year history.
Last 10 winners
2002 Dario Frigo (ITA) Tacconi Sport
2003 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Team CSC
2004 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Phonak
2005 Santiago Botero (COL) Phonak
2006 Cadel Evans (AUS) Davitamon-Lotto
2007 Thomas Dekker (NED) Rabobank
2008 Andreas Klöden (GER) Astana
2009 Roman Kreuziger (CZE) Liquigas
2010 Simon Spilak (SLO) Lampre-Farnese Vini
2011 Cadel Evans (AUS) BMC Racing Team