The Women’s WorldTour will conclude at the first-ever edition of Tour de Romandie Féminin held from October 7-9 in Switzerland. There will be nothing easy about the three-day race set to take place in the surrounding mountains with a decisive stage 2 summit finish at Thyon 2000.
The Tour de Romandie is a long-standing event on the men’s WorldTour that held its 75th edition this year and was won by Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe).
It is a welcomed addition to the top-tier women’s calendar and even though it’s only three stages, compared to the men’s six, the terrain ranges from hilly to mountainous and will undoubtedly cater to aggressive racing.
This won’t be a fizzling out of this year’s road season, as one only needs to look at the start list to see that Tour de Romandie Féminin has enticed a world-class field.
Toeing the line are world champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar), Demi Vollering (SD Worx), and also on the provisional start list are Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo). Then there is Mavi Garcia (UAE Team ADQ), Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Marta Cavalli (FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope) who are all looking to close out the season on a high note.
Van Vleuten has had a remarkable season winning the Giro d’Italia Donne, Tour de France Femmes and the Challenge by La Vuelta. She will line up as the new world champion having, despite breaking her elbow in the team time trial, won the road race title at the UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong in September.
Her performances on mountainous terrain and prime late-season form make her the outright favourite to win the overall title at the Tour de Romandie.
She will not be without competition, however, and several of the main contenders were forced to settle for lower placings in the top-10 at this year’s Tour de France Femmes, and perhaps come to the Tour de Romandie looking for some redemption.
Vollering was Van Vleuten’s closest rival though the mountains in France finishing second overall. She was forced to sit out of the World Championships, despite being in great shape, due to COVID-19. Though Van Vleuten went on to win the world title for the Dutch team, it was an unfortunate set back for Vollering.
At Tour de Romandie, Vollering will have support from a powerful team that includes Switzerland’s own, Marlen Reusser, who was part of the Swiss team that won the mixed team relay title and she finished third in the individual time trial in Wollongong. SD Worx’s team will also field climbers Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Anna Shackley.
Canyon-SRAM brings Niewiadoma, who despite being so close has yet to win a race this year, and she’ll have support from climber Alena Amialiusik. The wildcard on the team will be Swiss rider Elise Chabbey.
After a series of late-season wins at Giro dell’Emilia and Tre Valli Varesine, Longo Borghini could lead Trek-Segafredo in pursuit of the overall win. She was also on the start list to compete for the rainbow jersey at the first-ever Gravel World Championships held in Veneto on October 8 but confirmed in an update on Twitter that she’d be racing the Tour de Romandie instead. Also on the team are Leah Thomas and Ellen van Dijk for a strong showing.
Making her return to racing this autumn after a crash at Tour de France Femmes, Marta Cavalli showed good form finishing sixth in her first race back at Giro dell’Emilia. We won’t know how strong she is in the mountains until the racing gets underway but she and teammate Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Evita Muzic make it three cards to play for FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope.
Elsewhere, several other contenders to watch include Mavi Garcia (UAE TEam ADQ), Amanda Spratt and Ane Santesteban (BikeExchange-Jayco), Veronica Ewers and Omer Shapira (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB), Olivia Baril (Valcar Travel & Service) and Swiss Champion Caroline Baur from home team Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad.
Queen stage finale atop Thyon 2000
Tour de Romandie Féminin will offer the world-class peloton a three-day race that begins with a hilly 134.4km route and five categorised ascents. Starting along the Lac Léman, the peloton will hit Chexbres (4.7km at 4%) followed by Mont Pelerin (3.2km at 4.8%).
They will then enter the route’s large loop that includes two climbs over Vulliens (3.2km at 5.1%), before exiting the circuit and then climbing Les Granges (1.9km at 6%), which peaks roughly 30km from the finish. The race ends with a lengthy descent and a flat run-in into Lausanne.
None of the climbs are particularly long but their succession could cause some major splits in the field.
The race continues with a queen stage 2 with a mountaintop finish at Thyon 2000.
First, the peloton will race over the Chamoson (1.9km at 7.5%) just six kilometres into the stage. They then face flat valley roads until the 62km mark when the climbing starts at the Suen (13.3km at 6.7%).
Very little reprieve is offered but the riders will descend and follow an undulating route until reaching the base of Thyon 2000, a 20km ascent whereby the first 5km are 6.2%, followed by the middle section at 8%, and the last 3.5km is the steepest at 8.4% to the finish line.
The three-day race concludes with hilly route that includes two categorised ascents over Villars Le Comte (4km at 5.7%), follows the shores of Lac Leman, and then later in the stage over Trelex (2.4km at 5.6%) before descending into the finish in Genève where the overall winner will be crowned.
To view Tour de Romandie Feminin profiles and maps.
- Stage 1: Lausanne – Lausanne, 134.4km
- Stage 2: Sion – Thyon 2000, 104.5km
- Stage 3: Fribourg – Genève, 147.6km