The Spaniard and the Portuguese -third-placed overall in 2012- set to defend Movistar Team’s interests into a hard race in in Switzerland, with two TT’s and four difficult road stages
After a 2012 edition where he came close to a stage victory twice and made the overall podium after a huge decisive ITT, Rui Costa is back to the Tour de Romandie from Tuesday. The 67th edition of the Helvetic event will also see the man who helped the Portuguese rider’s biggest success to date, two months later, in the Tour de Suisse: Alejandro Valverde. The Spaniard, already a winner on Swiss soil, comes into the hard, final WorldTour race in April backed by impressive performances in the Ardennes classics. Alongside Rui Costa and Alejandro Valverde, Rubén Plaza, Eros Capecchi, Imanol Erviti, Vladimir Karpets, Pablo Lastras and Sylwester Szmyd compose the eight-man Blue squad, directed by José Luis Jaimerena and José Luis Laguía.
The route includes a hard prologue tomorrow, with the Cat. 3 climb of Mayens de Bruson following three rolling stages before the weekend’s showdown: the Queen stage on Saturday, with 188km towards Les Diablerets, features the Cat. 1 cols of Les Mosses, Morgins and La Croix, passed twice, with its last summit just 10k from the finish. Sunday’s 19-kilometer ITT around the Lac Léman in Geneva will be the last chance for those specialists that should lose time at the mountains the day prior.