Preparations continue in Romandie

Preparations continue in Romandie
By Eurosport

24/04/2012 at 08:30Updated 24/04/2012 at 19:53

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.

    Among the big names heading to Switzerland this year are previous winners Cadel Evans (2006 and 2011), Roman Kreuziger (2009), Andreas Kloeden (2008) and Simon Spilak (2010).

    Other notable riders include Damiano Cunego, Denis Menchov, Tony Martin and Vladimir Karpets, all of whom have finished as runner-up in previous editions.

    Team Sky duo Mark Cavendish, the reigning road world champion and 20-times Tour de France stage winner, and Bradley Wiggins, winner of this year's Paris-Nice race, will also be present.

    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