2023 Tour de Romandie Stage 1 Preview

Crissier > Vallée de Joux 170km

Stage 1 is a day for the sprinters, it could be the only chance they get this week. The sprint teams will ensure an easy break goes up the road, no doubt featuring riders from the Swiss national team and Tudor. They’ll gradually bring it back together and set up a bunch sprint.


Cloudy, but it should stay dry.


The bunch stay on a straight road from 13km to go until 2.3km remaining. At this point they take a tight right-hand bend, and then it’s full gas to the finish. I’ve seen wider finishing straights, being in a good position for the turn will be very important.


Mark Cavendish – yet again, he arrives at a big race without a recognised sprint train, Astana’s approach to this season makes no sense to me. If it was me, I would have him riding with the same three or four riders at every race, they need time for the sprint train to click, but this can’t happen as whoever is charge of the race schedules doesn’t seem to understand how to bed in a sprint train. With almost no help in the finale, I don’t see Cav getting close, but I hope to be proven wrong.

Fernando Gaviria – some riders don’t need a sprint train; Gaviria falls into that category. He’s posted some decent results this year, normally he gets a good position with 5km to go and uses all his track sense to jump from train to train. This approach is fraught with danger, and requires a bit of luck, but he seems at ease with it.

Ethan Vernon – at last, someone who arrives with a sprint train. He’ll have Pedersen as his final man, and with Cavagna, Devenyns and maybe Černy to help with position, he should be starting the sprint from an excellent position. He’s not had many chances to ride for himself this season, this is an opportunity he would like to take.

Elia Viviani – he’s had a great career, but he seems to be on the slide, especially as he’s fully focussed on the next Olympics. 

Alberto Dainese – wasn’t meant to be doing this race but was drafted in at the last minute. He doesn’t have much of a sprint train but has the speed to surprise. 

Niccolò Bonifazio – took an excellent win in Giro di Sicilia, his first for Intermarché. He’s another without specialist help in the closing kilometres, but he’s good at looking after himself.

Milan Menten – he’ll have Sweeny to help guide but could do with a little more help. Menten has enjoyed a good season, if he gets a good spot for the sprint, he has the speed to challenge for the win.

Giacomo Nizzolo – 6th in the final stage of Tirreno, then 10th in Scheldeprijs shows that there’s still life in the legs. He prefers a tougher finish, but with Zabel as final man, he should be up there.

Magnus Cort – he’s been getting involved in bunch sprints more than he used to but still not on every occasion. The cat 3 climb doesn’t look long enough for EF to think about hitting it hard, and it’s a long way from home. Winning this sprint will be tricky for Cort, I think he’ll have one eye on Thursday.

Prediction Time

Sprint trains make a difference.

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I’ll take a win for Ethan Vernon, and he’ll move into the race lead too. I see it as a fight between him and whoever manages to get on his wheel.