Two big names with different agendas will line up for the 66th Tour de Romandie later this month in Switzerland.
Race organizers confirmed Thursday that defending Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and world champion Mark Cavendish (Sky) will be among the field for the six-day race, April 24-29.
Evans, 35, will line up as defending champion and use the race to conclude an intense block of racing that also includes this week’s Ardennes classics.
Also a Romandie winner in 2006, Evans opened his 2012 season with a big win at the Critérium International in March and will focus in the coming months to defend his title at the Tour in July.
Penciled in to join Evans at Romandie are many of the riders expected to join him in July’s Tour, including Brent Bookwalter, Tejay van Garderen, Steve Cummings.
Cavendish, meanwhile, will return to racing at Romandie after taking a break to be with his partner as the couple gave birth to their first child. The Manxman also had wisdom teeth removed during his hiatus, which began in mid-March.
Cavendish has had an up-and-down season so far, taking wins at the Tour of Qatar, Tirreno-Adriatico and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
He fell flat at Milan-San Remo, however, and did not figure in the finale at Ghent-Wevelgem, his last start before taking a five-week break from racing.
Cavendish will use Romandie to hone his form ahead of a planned start at the Giro d’Italia next month.
Joining Cavendish on what looks to be a crack Team Sky lineup include Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Richie Porte, Danny Pate and Michael Rogers.
Other big names appearing on preliminary start lists include Roman Kreuziger (Astana), Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Denis Menchov (Katusha), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD), Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale), Bauke Mollema (Rabobank), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Paris-Nice runner-up Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM).
Garmin-Barracuda will bring a strong squad that includes Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Daniel Martin, Andrew Talansky and Giro-bound Ryder Hesjedal and Peter Stetina.
66th Tour de Romandie
Prologue, April 24: Lausanne (ITT), 3.3km
Stage 1, April 25: Morges to La Chaux-de-Fonds, 184.5km
Stage 2, April 26: Montbéliard to Moutier, 149.1km
Stage 3, April 27: La Neuveville to Charmey, 157.6km
Stage 4, April 28: Bulle to Sion, 184km
Stage 5, April 29: Crans-Montana (ITT), 16.5km