The Tour de Suisse will be the final preparation race for the Tour de France, where mostly the climbers will have a taste of what’s to come throughout the next month, and a lot of climbing practice on the way.
Stage one will be an explosive start to the race with a hilly stage that can see some attacks towards the overall classification, with a final circuit that includes a complicated final ascent close to the finish.
A second day where fireworks can happen, with an easier start but a tough ascent towering over the downhill finish into Aesch.
Perhaps the most sprinter-friendly stage of the race if you could call it that, however also one where the breakaway stands serious chances of succeeding. A roller-coaster day with climbing from the start, but nothing meaningful in the final portion of the day.
Stage four is the flattest of the race, however with a difficult ascent once again close to the finale which will see attacks and with some certainty a battle for GC and the stage win on it’s slopes and afterwards.
Stage five comes before the queen stages which may cut some chances of aggressive racing, however it’s a raid-ideal circuit in which there will be four hilltops in a final circuit that will be raced three times, where the GC can be played out once again.
Stage six will see the entry in the high mountains the Switzerland is well known form. It features the long and brutal ascent of the high-altitude Nufenenpass and then an equally hard ascent to the finish in Moosalp where big gaps are expected.
Stage seven will follow a similar formula, in which there will be a sequence of ascents leading up to the race’s finale in Liechenstein. The summit finish on this stage will be on the ascent to Malbun, where the riders will once again find very tough gradients on a long ascent.
The final time-trial features 25 kilometers in distance, assuring that the race will not be decided until the final day, where serious differences can still be made.
Remco Evenepoel – He’ll be putting his climbing skills to the test. Despite not being the main favourite he’ll likely gather the most attention and the most pressure from the media, and this is an important objective for him specially as a test. Quick-Step do have a strong climbing team but not as good as INEOS and BORA.
Daniel Martínez & Adam Yates – A very dangerous duo. Yates thrives in the heat but there won’t be any of that here, and as an inconsistent rider he won’t be a reliable weapon for the race win however he can be a very important card to play. Daniel Martínez should be the leader, having shown the consistency and impressive results this year, the high mountains will suit him better.
Aleksandr Vlasov & Sergio Higuita – Vlasov has been on an incredible season up until now and in the one-week races he will not be easy to beat. The Russian will be one of the main favourites for the overall, and so will Sergio Higuita if the Colombian finds his best legs, making BORA a very dangerous team with a lot of depth.
The level is very high, similarly to the Critérium du Dauphiné so to look for the overall win outside of these five riders will be quite complicated. But the level does remain quite high behind with the likes of Jakob Fuglsang, Gino Mäder and Ion Izagirre also coming in as contenders for the podium.
Furthermore you can expect some more riders to be in contention: Rohan Dennis and Sepp Kuss may have a tilt for Jumbo-Visma, Thymen Arensman for DSM, Jay Vine for Alpecin, Marc Soler for UAE, Alexey Lutsenko for Astana and Domenico Pozzovivo for Intermarché are all names to take into consideration.
Well… Are there actually any stages for sprinters to succeed? Not really, but there are some puncheurs who can sprint (or sprinters who can climb very well, depending on your point of view) such as Michael Matthews and Patrick Bevin who will surely ambition a win throughout the week. The likes of Peter Sagan, Bryan Coquard and Alexander Kristoff will also be at the start but with serious complications if I am to be honest. Alex Aranburu, Matteo Trentin and puncheurs like Tom Pidcock, Benoit Cosnefroy and Marc Hirschi may also have objectives in the easier stages.
⭐⭐Evenepoel, A.Yates, Higuita
⭐Kuss, Vine, Soler, Fuglsang, Mäder, I.Izagirre
Daniel Martínez is in my eye the favourite to take the overall win, having a strong team and being a perfect stage-racer for this kind of event. This close to the Tour the form has to be good, and he will be looking to get himself as the main priority for INEOS.
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