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Mitchelton-SCOTT go on the hunt for glory at Tour de Romandie

Sat 27 Apr 2019

Mitchelton-SCOTT will return to happy hunting ground when they line-up for the Tour de Romandie with a well-rounded squad on the hunt for more stage victories on Swiss soil.

Veteran Michael Albasini will be back on his home roads to take on a race where he has enjoyed plenty of success in the past, picking up a total of seven stage wins.

Australian Damien Howson will also be back in stage racing action after Itzulia Pais Vasco earlier in the month, while Tsgabu Grmay, Cameron Meyer and Dion Smith will head into the race fresh off their varied Ardennes classics campaigns.

Mitchelton-SCOTT Team:
Michael Albasini (SUI, 38)
Sam Bewley (NZL, 31)
Tsgabu Grmay (ETH, 27)
Damien Howson (AUS, 26)
Cameron Meyer (AUS, 31)
Callum Scotson AUS, 22)
Dion Smith (NZL, 36)

The Course

The six-day stage race will kick-off proceedings with a short 3.87km prologue around the scenic city of Neuchâtel, before the peloton head into the hills on the following day for the opening road stage.

The bunch will tackle five category two climbs on the 168.4.km long stage and will face two further category two climbs on the second stage ahead of a downhill run to the finish in Morges. It’s another lumpy day on stage three, with an up and down profile featuring four categorised climbs.

The Queen stage on stage four is where the race could be won or lost with five categorised climbs to contend with, including three category one ascents, the last of which rounds out the day with a summit finish. The race will conclude with a race against the clock and a 16.85km time trial around the streets of Genève.

The Past

Mitchelton-SCOTT have tasted success at the Swiss race on multiple occasions, winning nine stages since the team’s inception in 2012. Seven of those wins belong to local man Albasini, with his best haul coming in 2014 when he clinched three stages in impressive fashion.

Brit Simon Yates’ second place overall back in 2017 is the team’s best result on the general classification, with twin brother Adam Yates also claiming a top 10 placing with sixth position in 2015.

Michael Albasini:
“I’m always motivated when I go to a race, but in a home race of course you want show yourself and give a good performance. It's a mix between extra motivation and extra pressure.”

“Even though I’ve had a good run in the past in Romandie, I can’t just expect to win, so I don’t feel that I missed out by not winning last season. It's a World Tour Event on highest level, so winning is hard.”

“I just start every year with a blank sheet of paper. The aim is to win a stage, but like I said, it’s not easy and there are lots of riders hoping to do the same.”

Laurenzo Lapage (Sports Director):
“The plan is for Damo to have a crack at the overall, he’s been climbing well and did a strong performance at Coppi e Bartali. Alba will be hunting for stages but we also have options with the other guys in the squad.”

“It’s a tough one and let’s hope the good weather stays on our side, because bad weather there can make the race really hard.”

“It is for sure a race that fit this team, we’ve gone well there in the past and especially with Alba around the team we get a lot of support during the week.”

Tour de Romandie Race Details:
Tuesday, 30th April: Prologue, Neuchâtel - Neuchâtel, 3.87km
Wednesday, 1st May: Stage 1, Neuchâtel - La Chaux-de-Fonds. 168.4km
Thursday, 2nd May: Stage 2, Le Locle - Morges, 174.4km
Friday, 3rd May: Stage 3, Romont - Romont, 160km
Saturday, 4th May: Stage 4, Lucens - Torgon, 176km
Sunday, 5th May: Stage 5, Genève – Genève (ITT), 16.85km

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.

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