Lausanne, Switzerland, AFP Two-time defending Tour de France champion Chris Froome will test his form ahead of his bid for a fourth title in July at this week’s Tour de Romandie.
The Swiss race is designed to prepare riders for the Tour de France starting with Tuesday’s 4.8km prologue at Aigle, and including two mountain finishes before culminating with a tough 17.8km time-trial Sunday in Lausanne.
Faithful to his winning pre-Tour de France formula the 31-year-old Briton will be backed up by French teammate Kenny Elissonde, whose help will be particularly precious in the mountains.
Froome won the Swiss race in 2013 and 2014 going on to win the Tour de France in 2013, 2015 and 2016.
This year’s race brings together the 18 World Tour teams plus one invitation for Belgian outfit Wanty.
Several big names are absent including last year’s top two Nairo Quintana of Colombia and France’s Thibaut Pinot, who will compete in the Giro d’Italia on May 5.
Swiss rider Michael Albasini has already won six stages and will bid to close in on the overall record of 12 held by Italian Mario Cipollini.