Etixx - Quick-Step to Tour de Romandie
Etixx - Quick-Step has announced the selection that will participate in Tour de Romandie, a 709.6km stage race from April 28th until May 3rd.
The race starts with a 19.2km TTT from Vallée du Joux to Juraparc. The time trial parcours is mostly flat and not technical until the 2.2km to go point, when the riders will have to climb Col du Mont d'Orzeires, which averages 2.5 percent. There is then a descent for the last 750 meters. Stage 2, 168.1km in distance, features three Category 2 climbs and a Category 3 climb. The final categorized climb of the day, Col de Vue des Alpes (8km, 6.7% average gradient, max ramp 9%), ends at 17.2km to go in the race. This race could end up with some fireworks in the finale with all the climbing taking some energy from the legs of the peloton. Stage 3 is also up-and-down, with four categorized climbs to deal with in the 172.5km stage. However, the summit of the final categorized climb is at 25.1km to go and then there is flat or descending roads leading into the finishing straight, which is slightly uphill at 2.25% gradient. Stage 4, 169.8km in total distance, is undulating but with only three ascents that are categorized, and none higher than Category Two. The roads after the last climb (Category 3) descend into a flat final 4 kilometers, and then the finishing few hundred meters are slightly downhill. Sprinters could have their say in this stage. The queen stage honor goes to Stage 5, as the peloton heads into the Alps. The 162.7km stage includes the Category 1 Les Mosses (13.7km, 4% average gradient, max ramp 9%), which summits at the 63.8km mark of the race, the Category 1 Les Giettes (9.4km, 7.6% average gradient, max ramp 11%), which has a summit at the 105.8km mark of the stage, and Category 1 Petite Forclaz (5.1km, 9.8% average gradient, max ramp 13%), with the top of the climb located at the 24.1km to go point. The peloton will then have to deal with the summit finish of Category 1 Champex-Lac (14.2km, 7% average gradient, max ramp 13%). Finally, the race ends with the 17.3km Stage 6 ITT. This will be one for the powerful time trial specialists, as there is only 230m of climbing in the middle of the parcours. The rest of the stage is flat, with no technical concerns.
Gianluca Brambilla, scheduled to participate in Tour de Romandie was operated on last night after fracturing his collarbone at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The surgery went well. The Italian rider will be replaced by Michal Golas.
"This is an important race for us," Sport Director Davide Bramati said. "Not only in function of the Giro d'Italia, but also because it is a WorldTour race. We are #1 in the UCI WorldTour team ranking, so we want to do well at Tour de Romandie and defend our top placing. We have a good team at the start with a few guys preparing for the Giro. Rigoberto Uran comes back after Volta Ciclista a Catalunya where he finished in 5th place. Last year Rigo found a good rhythm and sensations before the Giro with a good finishing time trial, and we hope he can have the same situation this year. We will see what we can do in the 2015 edition of Tour de Romandie. We have the mission to do well as usual, with an eye specifically on the final time trial with Tony Martin, who already won the time trial at this race in the past."