Cavendish back in action at the Tour de Romandie

Sprinter fine tunes his form for the Giro d'Italia

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) will be back in action at the Tour de Romandie this week as he prepares for the Giro d'Italia.

Cavendish has not raced since finishing second at Scheldeprijs on March 3, taking a well-deserved break after starting his 2013 season at the Tour de San Luis in January.

Cavendish traditionally rides the Tour de Romandie to test his form in the sprint stages and to work on his climbing before heading to Italy. This year's Tour de Romandie starts with 7.45km time trial, which zigzags up the side of the hill between Le Cable and Brunson, below Verbier.

Cavendish leads the Omega Pharma-Quick-Step along with Tony Martin, while Gianni Meersman could be a contender in the expected select sprint finishes on the hillier stages.

"We have riders for each race situation," directeur sportif Brian Holm said in a press release from the Omega Pharma-Quick-Step team.

"There is a prologue and a final TT for Tony Martin, and then some mixed stages for the other guys — for example, a stage hunter like Gianni Meersman. It's also a good preparation for the Giro d'Italia. If there is a sprint, we have Cavendish who is tuning up his condition for the Giro. We have a balanced team, so I think we can be a protagonist throughout the race. That is our objective, but we will see each day."

As per tradition, the Tour de Romandie prologue time trial is held in the evening with the last rider scheduled to finish at seven o'clock in the evening.

The Omega Pharma-Quick-Step line-up: Gianluca Brambilla, Mark Cavendish, Bert Grabsch, Tony Martin, Gianni Meersman, Kristof Vande Walle, Peter Velits and Julien Vermote.

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