Bahrain Victorious will compete in their 10th stage race of the season this week at the 75th Tour de Romandie in Switzerland. It’s the final stage race before the Giro d’Italia, and is often seen as a good reference point for performance at the Tour de France later in the year.

Bahrain Victorious are sending a strong line-up of 7 riders, including Luis Léon Sánchez – double stage winner in 2012, who is back at the race for the 1st time since 2016

At last year’s edition Sonny Colbrelli won stage 2 and the Points Classification, but this time the focus will be more on the GC, with leader Damiano Caruso, fresh from victory at the Giro di Sicilia. The Italian finished 9th last year and will be using Romandie to sharpen up ahead of his first Grand Tour of the season.

The 5 days present a real variety of parcours, starting with a short prologue in Lausanne followed by 3 rolling stages offering opportunities for puncheurs, sprinters, and movements in the GC battle. The Queen stage is on Saturday, and sees over 4000m of ascending by way of 5 category 1 climbs before a summit finish at Zinal. The overall classification will be decided on May 1st with a 15.8km uphill time trial.

Neil Stephens, lead Sports Director summarises the task facing the riders:

It’s a fantastic and really demanding race, not only because of the mountainous terrain but also the weather can be quite challenging at times. It’s up and down throughout the week, and the uphill time trial really suits us

Along with the experience of Caruso & Sánchez, reigning Danish, European & World U23 time trial champion Johan Price-Pejtersen will be hoping to continue his development, having made his Paris-Roubaix debut last week.

Two more riders are previous winners in Switzerland: Hermann Pernsteiner, whose last victory was in Lugano, and 25 year old Gino Mader, who will be racing on home roads. Mader had something of a breakthrough season in 2021, winning stages at the Giro & the Tour de Suisse, as well as the Youth Classification at the Vuelta a España.

The selection is rounded off with Stephen Williams, starting his 3rd Romandie, and the team’s spring superstar Dylan Teuns. Sunday saw the Belgian achieve his 5th top 10 in the April classics as he sprinted to 6th at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, just 4 days after winning La Flèche Wallonne.

Stephens concludes, “We’re looking forward to very demanding but very beautiful race in Romandie

The Tour de Romandie starts at 1500 CET on Tuesday April 26th with a 5.1km time trial in Lausanne.

— Simona Mazzoleni to