Steve Morabito is looking forward to getting his shot at riding for the general classification at the Tour de Romandie without the responsibility of riding for a defined leader such as 2011 winner Cadel Evans - who is polishing up his form ahead of the Giro d'Italia. A domestique two years ago, Morabito performed well enough to finish 13th overall and with no duties slated for this year's edition, he's hoping to achieve a similar result again.
Morabito begun his season in Australia at the Santos Tour Down Under before more recently finishing 13th-overall at the Volta ao Catalunya - won by Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp). The Swiss rider has only raced 17 days this year but with his next tour in his home country, the 30-year-old could be poised to improve on his result on two years ago.
"This year will be the first time I will not have to work for a leader," said Morabito on his team site. "After the Volta a Catalunya, I spent two weeks at altitude, so I am really motivated to have a good ride."
The eight-man BMC Racing outfit for the six-day race is somewhat of a mixed bag. Marco Pinotti will start just his second race this year after crashing out of the Tour Méditerranéen in February where he broke two ribs and his collarbone. The Italian finished the Giro del Trentino and assisted his squad to a top-ten in the team time trial and is coming to the race with high hopes, according to his team.
"This is an important race for a lot of the guys and for the team as a whole, especially," said sports director Yvon Ledanois.
Three of the riders will be racing on home roads and this could provide a slight advantage, said Matthias Frank who has been outlined as a co-leader for the Swiss tour and is gunning to perform in the opening prologue.
"There are only a couple of WorldTour races; Tour de Romandie and Tour de Suisse so it's always something special to start in your home country and normally you are extra motivated for these races," said Frank in an interview shortly after completing Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
"I've done some reconnaissance and studied the profiles and talked to guys like Danilo (Wyss), who knows a lot of the roads that are close to his home. I think everybody will have their chance every day and the prologue should suit me well," added Frank.
The Stage 2 finish at Granges is actually just outside the BMC headquarters and this stage, perhaps not suited to Frank, may be a day for someone like Adam Blythe or Brent Brookwater.
"The finale is pretty challenging but my opinion is that there will be a sprint from a group of about 60 guys," said Frank. "This is something for Adam Blythe, who is out sprinter or even Dominik Nerz or Brent could try there. We have a lot of cards to play. We'll try day by day."