The Tour de Romandie organisation has unveiled the route and provisional start list for the 2021 edition of the race, which returns on April 27 after last year’s COVID-enforced break.
Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Chris Froome (Israel Start-Up Nation) are among the headline names set to line up at the prologue in Oron to kick off the six-day race.
Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma), Miguel Ángel López (Movistar), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-QuickStep) will also be racing, along with Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-Nippo), Richie Porte (Ineos Grenadiers) and Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) in a star-studded start list for the Swiss WorldTour race.
The riders will be competing on a parcours that looks tougher than ever, boasting a record total of altitude gain, with 12,500 metres of climbing spread across the six days of racing in the 75th edition of the race.
The route is set to largely follow the planned route for the cancelled 2020 race, with few changes. A 4.5-kilometre prologue in Oron will kick off the action on Tuesday April 27, with a climb to the line the first challenge awaiting riders during the week.
Stage 1 runs 168 kilometres from Aigle – the headquarters of the UCI – to Martigny, featuring four laps of a tough hilly circuit which will see the peloton tackle two third-category climbs each time around. Stage 2 runs 165 kilometres from La Neuveville to St Imier and features 3,435 metres of climbing with five second-category climbs along the way before the first-category La Vue-des-Alpes 17 kilometres from the line.
The 168-kilometre stage 3 starts and finishes in Estavayer, featuring seven third-category climbs along the way, while stage 4 is the toughest of the race. The 161-kilometre stage from Sion to Thyon 2000 brings includes three category-1 climbs, including the 20-kilometre summit finish, for a total of 4,157 metres of climbing. The race closes with a hilly 16.2-kilometre time trial which will decide the final destination of the yellow jersey.
Home interest will lie with Tour de France stage winner Hirschi as well as Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), and Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-Nippo).
Mathias Frank (AG2R Citroën), Tom Bohli (Cofidis), Matteo Badilatti, Fabian Lienhard, Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ), Reto Hollenstein (Israel Start-Up Nation), Johan Jacobs (Movistar) and Mauro Schmid (Qhubeka Assos) also represent Switzerland, though a national team will not be racing this year.
The race, which runs from April 27 to May 2, will also see an increase in live TV coverage – from one-and-a-half hours per day to two.
#tdr2021 le peloton-the field! Qui en jaune à Fribourg pour succéder à @rogla ? Les anciens vainqueurs Froome ou Richie Porte? Geraint Thomas? Les prétendants ne manquent pas! 👍😎💪#tdrnonstop #uci pic.twitter.com/as73jBFOQdApril 13, 2021