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Tour de Romandie mixes up route for 2016

The week-long Tour de Romandie, a favorite for Chris Froome over the past few seasons, is shaking things up for its 70th edition next year.

Instead of finishing with a closing-day time trial as it has since 2011, the 2016 edition will close with a road stage into Geneva. The six-day race across the French speaking region of Switzerland will feature two time trials, two transition stages, and two mountaintop finales, enough to keep the peloton on the edge of its saddles from April 26-May 1.

Officials revealed the 2016 parcours during a presentation Friday. The race will open with a short, 3.95-kilometer prologue in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Another time trial is on tap for stage 3 in a challenging 15km course at Sion. Mountaintop finishes at Morgins in stage 2 and the “queen stage” in stage 4 finishing at Ollon should crown the winner. Stage 1 to Moudon is ideal for the sprinters, and the race concludes May 1 with a road stage into Geneva, instead of a time trial stage that’s decided the past few editions of the WorldTour race.

Katusha finished 1-2 last year, with Ilnur Zakarin delivering the surprise to knock Froome into third overall. Romandie is a favorite for Team Sky, with Froome taking the overall in 2013 and 2014, and Bradley Wiggins winning in his near-perfect 2012 season ahead of claiming the Tour de France.

Froome already has Romandie on his tentative 2016 schedule, which includes a season debut in Australia, followed by Paris-Nice, Romandie, and the Critérium du Dauphiné ahead of the Tour and the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

70th Tour de Romandie (April 26-May 1)

Prologue, April 26: La Chaux-de-Fonds, 3.95km
Stage 1, April 27: La Chaux-de-Fonds to Moudon, 166.9km
Stage 2, April 28: Moudon to Morgins, 173.9km
Stage 3, April 29: Sion, 15.1km (ITT)
Stage 4, April 30: Conthey to Villars-s/Ollon, 173.2km
Stage 5, May 1: Ollon to Geneva, 172km