INTERMARCHÉ
WANTY GOBERT

Tour de Romandie

R. Taaramäe : “The team is hungry for victories”


From Tuesday to Sunday, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will race in Switzerland on the occasion of the Tour de Romandie (2.UWT, 26/04-1/05). The stage race starts with a prologue, followed by four bunch races and a final uphill time trial.

On Tuesday, the race will start with a technical individual and flat exercise of 5.1 kilometer in the centre of Lausanne. The next day, the first bunch race starts along the Lake of Neuchâtel, before joining the hilly circuit of 47 kilometer around Romont, where a short uphill finish is waiting for the riders.

On Thursday, the stage around Echallens gets close to 1000 meter of altitude thanks to the ascent of La Praz (6.7km at 4.6%) halfway through the stage. A particularly hilly stage follows the next day on a parcours of 165 kilometer, composed of several different loops around Valbroye. A difficult final contains the ascents of Dompierre (3.6km at 5%) and Sédeilles (4.5km at 4.4%).

For the weekend the Tour heads to the south of the region with first the queen stage on Saturday. After the start in Aigle, not less than three climbs of first category have to be covered before reaching the foot of the final climb, which exists of three parts and brings the riders to an altitude of 1600 meter in Val d’Anniviers. On Sunday, an individual time trial of 15.8 kilometer with the climb towards Villars (10.2km at 8.1%) will decide on the general classification.

Two days after his 35th birthday, Rein Taaramäe will participate in the Tour for the seventh time. The Estonian rider revealed his qualities in this race in 2009 by finishing third in the general classification. Last year, he won the combativity award after his breakaway in the second stage. Louis Meintjes recently finished third in the Tour of Sicily and returns to the race after last year’s twentieth place in the general classification.

Alongside them, Quinten Hermans pursues his race schedule after his historical podium in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Also Baptiste Planckaert showed himself in La Doyenne and will accompany Théo Delacroix, Laurens Huys and Julius Johansen who make their debut in the race just like Hermans, under the direction of Steven De Neef, Hilaire Van der Schueren and Bart Wellens.

« It was in this race that, in my third season as a professional rider, I achieved my first important result on World Tour level by sprinting for the victory in the queen stage with Roman Kreuziger and finishing the week in third place. Thanks to this precious memory I’m always looking forward to return to Switzerland. The team achieved many good results in Romandie and we cherish the ambition to add a first succes. Personally, I want to play a major role in at least one stage by racing aggressively and chase a stage win. Within our team we can also rely on Quinten Hermans, who has really shown the past weeks that he has the abilities to fight for the win in World Tour races. He’s very fast in a sprint after a hard race, so we will surround both him and our climber Louis Meintjes with the whole team this week. My preparation went very smooth, for the second time this year I trained for three weeks in Rwanda. In my opinion it is the perfect training location at this time of the year thanks to the guaranteed good weather and the fantastic and calm roads. In the Tour of Oman I really benefited from my first altitude camp and I’m convinced that I will line up with a similar form this Tuesday. »

Tour de Romandie:

Stage 1 (26/04): Prologue Lausanne (5,12km) (= TT) 

Stage 2 (27/04): La Grande Beroche – Romont (178,4km) 

Stage 3 (28/04): Echallens – Echallens (168,2km)

Stage 4 (29/04): Valbroye – Valbroye (164,8km)

Stage 5 (30/04): Aigle – Zinal (180,1km)

Stage 6 (01/05): Aigle – Villars (15,8km) (= TT) 

RESULTS

General Classification

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