Women's Tour de Romandie History
This is the first-ever Women’s Tour de Romandie and unlike its compatriot, the Tour de Suisse, it’s not a reborn event after a long gap either. It has done well to enter the Women’s WorldTour in its first edition, normally a race has to earn its spot after at least one race. As an end of season race, it looks quite tasty.
We get the major summit finish of Thyon 2000 and that has brought out most of the major GC contenders, even this late on in the season. Stage 1 looks set for a sprint but one where any contenders will have to be careful not to be dropped on the plenty of climbing beforehand. There aren’t many top name sprinters here but someone like Arlenis Sierra feels ideally suited. Stage 2 is all about the GC battle and gives the women’s peloton another solid summit finish. Van Vleuten is the obvious favourite, fractured elbow and all but Elisa Longo Borghini is the rider in big form after winning twice in the last week. Stage 3 is the closest stage to a pure sprint but there are still hurdles for any sprinter to get through, including an early Cat 2 climb.
Women's Tour de Romandie 2022 Stage Profiles
Women's Tour de Romandie 2022 Contenders
Canyon SRAM come into the Tour de Romandie with a deep line-up for this time of year.
They’ll be led by Kasia Niewiadoma who looked very on form at the Worlds, twice being part of the front group. She will hope to bring the same form that saw her finish on the Tour de France Femmes podium and the summit finish on Thyon 2000 gives her a chance. I like Elise Chabbey for an attacking ride here. Stages 1 and 3 give a decent platform and I fully expect her to go for another Queen of the Mountains jersey on home roads. Soraya Paladin probably represents their sprint option, especially on Stage 1 which will be a hard day. Pauliena Rooijakkers and Neve Bradbury will probably assist Niewiadoma here but Rooijakkers was 3rd at the Tour de Suisse and Bradbury 5th at the Tour of Scandinavia. Both are strong wildcard options.
Marta Cavalli did well on her comeback from that big injury at the Tour de France Femmes. She was 6th at the GIro dell’Emilia before being a bit quieter at Tre Valli Varesine. She was in such good form before but you’d have to think that she won’t quite be on par with the major players just yet. Her teammate Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig should therefore be the leader and after 5th at the Ceratizit Challenge and the World Championships, she’s likely to get a similar result at the Tour de Romandie.
It’s tough to not pick Annemiek van Vleuten here. She won the World Championships despite a fracture in her elbow and with more time to recover, surely she will be back to the powerful, rocking the bike out of the saddle Van Vleuten that we know and love. Expect her to attack early on the Thyon 2000 stage. Teammate Arlenis Sierra should get the nod on Stages 1 and 3. Stage 1 in particular screams out as a Sierra stage. Tough enough to drop the pure sprinters, Sierra should still be there at the end to contest the win.
We get the last outing of the Demi Vollering and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio partnership for SD Worx. It hasn’t been a particularly successful duo this year, although some of the results would be more than fine for others. A combination of mixed goals and crashes means we haven’t see them ride together too often in this second half of the season. Vollering has recently had Covid but seems to be in good nick from her social media updates, it does throw a wildcard into the mix however. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio was decent at the World Champs in 11th despite not having as much support as others. If she can stay out of trouble, she will be keen to finish her time at SD Worx with a spark.
The double winner from the last week Elisa Longo Borghini clearly has some strong end of season form. She took wins at the Giro dell’Emilia and Tre Valli Varesine winning in an uphill sprint and then a solid solo break. I’ve tipped her for 3rd but with Vollering recently having Covid, I can see the Italian finishing 2nd easily enough. I don’t think she will have enough to beat Van Vleuten though.
Special mention for Audrey Cordon-Ragot, this is her first race since suffering a stroke that saw her unable to participate in the World Championships. Her quick return to racing is a great sight to see.
Mavi Garcia was certainly impressive in winning Classic Lorient Agglomération but then was slightly behind at the Certizit Challenge in finishing 11th. She was regularly on the attack at the Tre Valli Varesine this week before finishing 11th. The climb to Thyon 2000 gives her a strong chance and whilst I think she will be a top-10 cert, I can’t see the Spaniard on the podium in her last race for UAE Team ADQ.
Her teammate Sofia Bertizzolo is a good shout for Stages 1 and 3. 3rd at the Giro dell’Emilia was followed by 15th at Tre Valli Varesine. She was also 5th at the last stage of the Ceratizit Challenge in a flatter sprint and with many big sprinters not here, she will have a shot.
Amanda Spratt looks good recently, with 6th and 7th in the pair of Italian races this week. Maybe a quieter home World Championships than originally planned for the Aussie but she will be keen to keep up with her former teammate Van Vleuten at the front of the race here. In her last race for BikeExchange-Jayco, she’s another who will want to leave her long-standing team with a good result. Teammate Ane Santesteban was 3rd at Tre Valli Varesine and was also 6th at home in the Ceratizit Challenge. The strong finish to the year could continue in Switzerland.
It’s been a career year for Juliette Labous and she will want to finish it off with another strong result. 7th at the Worlds was good after missing the initial moves made by the puncheurs. She’s a little bit behind the best but we’ve seen her still win at the Giro Donne by going early and having the power to push on solo. Liane Lippert has finished a couple of places ahead of Labous in recent races, including 4th at the Worlds and the Ceratizit Challenge. She will need to recreate her 2nd place behind Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig at the Tour of Scandinavia. Floortje Mackaij was 6th back at the Tour de Suisse and presents a good wildcard option on all 3 days potentially. For Lippert and Mackaij, it’s their last race for the team before they both move to Movistar in 2023.If Elisa Longo Borghini confirmed her form by winning 2 races this week, then Veronica Ewers did likewise by finishing 2nd behind the Italian in both races. The American is finishing the year strongly and in this form she can recreate her top-10 performance from the Tour de France Femmes.
Women's Tour de Romandie 2022 Outsiders
<s>There’s a trio of Valcar riders who could potentially do well here but it’s not guaranteed. Olivia Baril got her last strong results back at the Tour de Suisse, finishing 9th Overall there and 8th on the final climb in the rain. She’s the team’s best climber at this year’s Women’s Tour de Romandie and their best shot at a good GC result. Her teammates Eleonara Gasparrini and Ilaria Sanguineti represent good options for the sprints here. I would probably pick Sanguineti as a likely option for Stage 1. We’ve recently seen her do very well on a similar tough course with 4th at Classic Lorient Agglomération. For Gasparrini, the purer sprint stage on the 3rd day is probably where she can get the best result. Gasparrini won the MerXem Classic and took a series of top-10 results recently at the Simac Ladies Tour and AG Tour de la Semois.
Yara Kastelijn has already begun her cyclocross season but still finished 5th at the Giro dell’Emilia. Her late season form is one of the reasons why Plantur-Pura look set to take the final Women’s WorldTour spot for 2023. A strong climber, it remains to be seen if she can keep up with the best on long efforts like Thyon 2000 but the other stages will pose no threat.
Her teammate Julie de Wilde continues to impress this year and after winning Grisette Grand Prix de Wallonie has shown that she can keep up on climbs before sprinting too. She’s probably the best outright sprinter at the Tour de Romandie.