Tour de Romandie 2012: Strong Sky Squad
Team Sky have announced that World Champion Mark Cavendish and 2012 Paris-Nice winner Bradley Wiggins will both be riding in the Tour de Romandie 2012 in Switzerland.
In what looks like a dry run for the Tour de France we analyze the squad and the 2012 Tour de Romandie route.
Tour de Romandie 2012
Here’s the line top for Team Sky at Tour de Romandie 2012
- Bradley Wiggins
- Mark Cavendish
- Geraint Thomas – updated – Thomas was a late addition to the squad
- Jeremy Hunt
- Chris Froome
- Danny Pate
- Richie Porte
- Michael Rogers
- Kanstantsin Siutsou
Tour de Romandie Predicts Tour de France?
The Tour de Romandie is one of the races of choice for General Classification (GC) contenders for the Tour de France.
2011 Tour de Romandie winner Cadel Evans has confirmed that he will defend his title in Switzerland this summer as a key part of his Tour de France preparation.
Along with the Critérium du Dauphiné, the Tour de Romandie can be used as a predictor for who might make the squad for the Tour de France. However in 2011 only three members of the Tour de Romandie Team Sky squad made it through to the Tour de France squad; Ben Swift, Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins. Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins are the only Team Sky riders to take on the Tour de Romandie in both 2011 and 2012.
It will be fascinating to see if Team Sky chase the Tour de Romandie General Classification with Bradley Wiggins and therefore set up a head to head with Cadel Evans.
The 2012 Tour de France favorites have studiously avoided each other in their chosen warm up races so far. Wiggins rode a gritty Paris-Nice and defended his Yellow Jersey impressively in the final up hill time trial. Cadel Evans chose the Critérium International in Corsica, winning on the back of strong time trailing and a classic Evans gritty defensive climb in the finale. It’s interesting that Evans choose the Critérium International a sit serves as a good recon for the 2013 Tour de France Grand Depart in Corsica.
One thing is sure though, these races are a full on audition for the domestique places in the Tour de France squad. Wiggins will be assessing every member of his climbing group and he and Team Sky Race Coach Rod Ellingworth will use the performance of the climbers in the Tour de Romandie and Critérium du Dauphiné to make their final choices.
Chasing Yellow and Green
So how will the squad work?
Team Sky and British Cycling head honcho Dave Brailsford is being asked two questions at the moment;
- Sir Chris Hoy or Jason Kenny for the British Cycling Sprint place at the Olympics
- How on earth can Team Sky do the impossible by fielding a sprinter and a GC rider at the Tour de France?
The Tour de Romandie could be an early indication of how Team Sky will chase Green and Yellow jerseys at the 2012 Tour de France.
Bradley Wiggins will contest the Prologue in Lausanne and the final day Time Trial in Crans-Montana, they will be useful as Tour de France time trail form tests against Cadel Evans. Don’t be surprised though to see him adopting a super domestique role in trying to help Chris Froome in GC and Mark Cavendish in the sprint lead outs.
This tactic would take the pressure of Wiggins and give the wider Team Sky squad greater faith in the 2012 Tour de France GC back up plan; Chris Froome. Team Sky Race Coach Rod Ellingworth likes making Mark Cavendish practice being a lead out man for other sprinters in the team and I think he may do the same with Wiggins, tasking him with being overall road captain and lieutenant for Chris Froome at the 2012 Tour de Romandie.
Team Sky have been consistent in saying that the Green and Yellow jerseys are not mutually exclusive goals.
There’s actually some good logic to this. GC riders must finish in the main bunch every day, they ride hard in the final KM’s to avoid crashes and get underneath the neutral zone flag safely so that they can record the same time as the main bunch and therefore not loose time on their rivals. After his Tour de France crash last year, Wiggins is now incredibly risk averse. At Paris-Nice he was often riding in the wind at the front just to avoid crashes, not even trusting his right hand man Geraint Thomas to take the wind at times. Wiggins is therefore a perfect member of Mark Cavendishes lead out train.
- Mark Cavendish – Sprints
- Chris Froome – GC
- Bradley Wiggins – GC
- Gerainr Thomas – A deluxe domestique who will help Wiggins and lead out Cav where possible
- Jeremy Hunt – Domestique for Cav; Protected Cav at World Championships
- Danny Pate - Domestique for Cav; Protected Cav in the HTC train
- Kanstantsin Siutsou - Domestique for Wiggins; Top ten finishes in Giro D’Italia and Critérium du Dauphiné in 2011
- Richie Porte – Domestique for Wiggins; Strong time trailer and former domestique for Contador
- Michael Rogers - Overall domestique and 3x World Champion Time Trialer
Tour de Romandie 2012 Route
The 2012 Tour de Romandie route is a mixture of time trials, hilly tests, alpine classics and cat and mouse breakaway stages for the sprinters to chase. For a full Tour de Romandie route preview including videos check out our 2012 Tour de Romandie route guide.
PROLOGUE TUE 24TH APRIL – LAUSANNE – 3.34 KM
Wiggins vs Evans: Short TT prologue with average speeds of +50km/h.
STAGE 1 WED 25TH APRIL – MORGES TO CHAUX-DE-FONDS – 184 KM
Mark Cavendish vs the breakaway: Rolling stage with a finish on the wide boulevards of La Chaux-de-Fonds.
STAGE 2 THU 26TH APRIL – MONTBÉLIARD (FR) TO MOUTIER – 149 KM
Lumpy stage and a preview of Stage 8 of the 2012 Tour de France, potential cross winds could force a critical break.
STAGE 3 FRI 27TH APRIL – NEUVEVILLE TO CHARMEY 157 KM
Mark Cavendish: Sprint finish in the beautiful countryside that produces Gruyère cheese.
STAGE 4 SAT 28TH APRIL – BULLE TO SION – 184 KM
Welcome to the mountains! Critical day for the climbing groups in the BMC and Team Sky squads. Team Sky need to hammer out a furious pace on the Col des Mosses to do the damage ahead of the final Cat. 1 climbs.
STAGE 5 SUN 29TH APRIL – CRANS-MONTANA 16.24 KM
Froome/Wiggins vs Cadel Evans: The race will be won and lost in the time trial on the sunniest Alpine plateau in Switzerland.
Cycling Tours in Switzerland
The Tour de Romandie is a fantastic showcase for the beautiful and quiet back roads of Western Switzerland that are just begging to be explored by bike. SwissRetreat Cycling Tours run fully supported cycling tours in the Swiss Alps
- Watch and ride stages of the Tour de Romandie in person
- Get in shape on our sportive training holidays that include local Swiss sportives
- Earn your Alpine Cycling Certificate in the ultimate cycling challenge the Swiss Alpenbrevet
If you’d like to watch the Tour de Romandie then get in touch to find out more about our custom bike breaks.