Tour de Romandie: Luke Plapp hoping to test GC waters ahead of Giro d’Italia

Australian an option for Jayco AlUla alongside Simon Yates and Eddie Dunbar

Clock02:01, Tuesday 23rd April 2024
Luke Plapp in yellow at Paris-Nice earlier this year

© Getty Images

Luke Plapp in yellow at Paris-Nice earlier this year

Luke Plapp (Jayco AlUla) is heading into this week’s Tour de Romandie as a possible general classification contender as he looks to test his legs and stage-racing abilities ahead of next month’s Giro d’Italia.

The Australian, who moved to Jayco AlUla this year in search of more leadership opportunities, will line up alongside Simon Yates and Eddie Dunbar as options for the six-stage race this week.

All will be hoping to ride well in Switzerland, but the time trials make the race particularly suited to double national champion Plapp’s abilities.

“I’m really looking forward to Romandie and to be able to race with both Simon and Eddie,” Plapp said in a release from the team ahead of Tuesday’s opening prologue. “All of us could be capable of a strong GC result so I think we can play off each other quite nicely."

Read more: Tour de Romandie 2024 start list

After racing Paris-Nice – where he wore the yellow jersey and eventually finished sixth overall – Plapp raced one Classic in Milan-San Remo but otherwise spent his spring training ahead of his Giro d’Italia debut in May.

“I’ve been in altitude since San Remo building towards both Romandie and the Giro so I’m looking forward to seeing how my shape is heading into the Giro,” he said.

Plapp has only ridden one Grand Tour before, the Vuelta a España in 2022, so this year’s Giro will mark a key moment in his development, as he tries to find out where his level is in three-week racing. Romandie is a crucial stepping stone before the Grande Partenza next week.

Read more: Matt White: We don’t know how good Luke Plapp can be

Romandie time trials good for Plapp

Romandie has traditionally been a race that suits the time trialists. This year’s parcours offers fewer kilometres against the clock, but the two TTs – the stage 1 prologue and the medium-length effort on stage 4 – will still be important, which should suit Plapp well, though he is not laying everything on outright leadership.

“⁠I think with the team we have on paper we are hoping to be right up there in the GC ranks and have a few cards to play. I believe the tour will come down to the 15km stage 4 TT, so that will definitely be a focus for myself,” Plapp said. “With Simon as a leader and myself and Eddie there to play a big role of support and having some opportunities as well.”

As well as being a race that plays into his abilities, Plapp has good memories at Romandie. He finished ninth overall here in 2022, one of the early indications that he could be a future rider to watch in stage races.

“Romandie has always been a favourite race of mine,” he said. “I had a great race in my first year pro here and the region of Aigle where we race is one of my favourite places to ride a bike in the world. With two TT’s and the chance to wear the Aussie TT colours for the first time this year is also going to be great!”

Explore more about the Tour de Romandie 2024, including the start list and route, on our dedicated race page.

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