The opening stage of the Tour de Suisse will see the puncheurs and climbers come to the fore – as will be the case on most day. It’s a hilly day where the start and finish are in the town of Küsnacht, and the riders will face a tough circuit.
The final circuit has 45 kilometers in distance and will be ridden three times – although in reality, most of it is ridden four times. There are two main features, one of them being the third category climb of Pfannenstiel with 19.5Km to go (3.9Km at 4.9%).
After a small descent the riders will face the final ascent, relatively harder. The climb into Küsnachter Berg which features 2.7 kilometers at 8.2%, with it’s hardest gradients towards the center. It summits with 4.5 kilometers to go, and then a set of rolling roads will lead the riders into the finish line.
No meaningful wind, however some heat that will be felt out on the road.
Breakaway chances: 15%
Opening day of the race and with a quite complicated rolling route, it’s not impossible to see a breakaway succeed. However there are more puncheurs, climbers and (maybe) sprinters that will want to have a shot at winning the stage and they will not allow a breakaway to take away their chance to fight for a stage win.
Climbers – This isn’t exactly a stage suited to the climbers but many on the list are explosive. Remco Evenepoel has evolved on that matter quite a lot this year, alongside Sergio Higuita and Daniel Martínez who have quite an explosive sprint that could succeed at the end of such a day. Aleksandr Vlasov and Adam Yates can also do so, but an attack will be the way to go.
Puncheurs – There will be plenty. This is perhaps one of the most puncheur-filled startlist all year long. Marc Hirschi has just won the GP Aargau in front of Max Schachmann, two puncheurs who’ve had a great run of form but struggled lately, however seemingly in good shape ahead of the race. Tom Pidcock is back to competition and will be eyeing stage wins on days like these, with Benoît Cosnefroy, Alessandro Covi, Diego Ulissi, Andreas Kron and Neilson Powless all dangerous riders.
In the more sprinter/puncheur side you have Michael Matthews and Patrick Bevin, who will likely see their teams work on some stages, here quite possibly as they have a strong sprint and may find themselves in a good place to win.
Some other riders can succeed too. It’s a very open stage finale, where both climbers, puncheurs, punchy sprinters or even rouleurs can succeed. Some more names can be added, such as: Jakob Fuglsang, Gino Mäder, Alex Aranburu, Alexey Lutsenko, Rohan Dennis, Ion Izagirre, Thibaut Pinot, Thymen Arensman and Soren Kragh Andersen.
⭐⭐⭐ Higuita, Matthews, Evenepoel
⭐⭐ Vlasov, Martínez, Pidcock, Hirschi
⭐ A.Yates, Schachmann, Cosnefroy, Covi, Powless, Bevin, Dennis, SK.Andersen
It’s a very difficult stage to predict, as most this coming week will probably be. My call is for Alessandro Covi to take the stage win either from a late attack or a final sprint, he’s the kind of rider that won’t be marked and I feel like an attack after the summit of the final climb will decide the stage.
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