Tour of Romandie 2015 – Stage 4 Preview

By David Hunter

La Neuveville – Fribourg 169.8km

romandía4

On paper, this is the easiest stage of the race, with only three categorised climbs.

The opening cat 2 climb, Les Paccots, is 3.9km at 6.8%. That is followed by some undulating roads before the next cat 2 climb 2, Sorens. It’s 4.4km at 5.1%, before the final climb of the day. Treyvaux, is a cat 3 climb and is 3.8km at 3.7%. Compared to the climbs in the previous stages, this is an easy stage.

That means the sprinters will all be wanting to take advantage of their one and only chance of success. Expect a lot of teams willing to help pull back the break and I think a bunch kick is guaranteed.

The profile is kind to the riders, but the weather isn’t. Heavy rain is forecast for the whole day. This easy day, just got a little harder, especially the final descent before the finish.

The hungry sprinters are: Michael Albasini, Simon Gerrans, Tosh Van Der Sande, Giacomo Nizzolo, Luka Mezgec, Elia Viviani and Tom Van Asbroeck.

The fastest sprinter is Luka Mezgec. He’s only taken 1 win in 2015, thanks to crashes and illness. This is a big chance for him to shine. Nizzolo and Viviani will also fancy their chances of taking a win in this sprint. You might be surprised to see me include Simon Gerrans, in the list of sprinters, but remember he has outsprinted Greipel and Sagan, in the past. It’s about time he got his season started.

Orica have a decision to make, but it would be a big surprise if Albasini wasn’t their man. Gerrans did a great lead-out today and expect more of the same here.

The weather does have an impact on the race. Riding all day long, in wet clothes, takes it out of the riders. It’s also going to be cold, especially at 1100m. This looks like a battle of the fittest. It’s going to be a headwind for most of the stage, but a tailwind, as they head for home. I doubt the break will survive.

Prediction Time

This is the only chance of a big sprint. Expect to see Mezgec v Viviani v Nizzolo v Albasini. The fastest is Mezgec, although he’s without a proper lead-out. He’s strong enough to win with a long sprint.

David Hunter

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