|Strong line-up in Tour de Romandie
After the classics in Northern Europe, teams and riders begin to prepare themselves for the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France. Starting on Tuesday, Tour de Romandie is the first in a series of big stage races.
Team CSC is not participating in the Giro this year, so Tour de Romandie is actually the last important race in the spring season.
"In this race our guys are still on good form, so it's definitely not going to be used as training or preparation. We already have money in the bank after a great spring season, so there's no pressure on our shoulders," says sports director Sean Yates.
However, there will be a lot of pressure on last year's winner, Tyler Hamilton, who recently signed for Swiss team Phonak after two successful years at CSC.
"Tyler will be hard to beat. But this is also his last chance to make a good result before the Tour, and Phonak haven't done anything this spring. Just like us, they have a strong line-up for Tour de Romandie, so it could be a head-to-head battle between Tyler and Jaksche," Yates predicts.
Jörg Jaksche broke his elbow the day before last week's Amstel Gold Race, but yesterday he was back and on the attack in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
"Before Jörg's accident we had high hopes of him winning the race. Obviously it's a setback, but it wasn't as bad as it seemed. Maybe the rest did him good, and if he gets through the first couple of stages, he could be strong in the mountains and in the decisive time-trial."
Last year Carlos Sastre finished 6th in Tour de Romandie, and on Sunday Ivan Basso led Team CSC in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
"Ivan is going well and would like to win a race. The time trial will probably be a bit of a handicap for him, even though it's slightly uphill. Sastre could pull of a good time trial, and slowly but surely he's getting into shape," Yates explains.