Tour de Suisse 2014 – Overall Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Tour de Suisse 2014 – Overall Preview

By David Hunter

We return to Switzerland for 9 hard stages.logosuiza

We have 2 ITTs, totalling 34.1km. Both the TTs have hills in them. Stage 1 has a 2.5km climb at 7.2%, with the second TT having two easier hills. Obviously this puts the TT specialists at a fairly big advantage.

There will be massive time gaps after the opening two stages. Stage 2 has two HC climbs at the beginning, and this will destroy the peloton.

This means that there will be plenty of breakaway opportunities, for the rest of the week.

The GC riders will have a big opening to the race, a quiet middle and a difficult end. Stage 7 is the second ITT, followed by two mountain stages. Stage 8 is the most difficult, finishing on the Verbier, with 8.2km at 7.8%.

The 2 time defending champion, Rui Costa, returns and now he’s in the rainbow jersey. Can he make it 3 in a row? He loves this race and is looking to fine tune his form ahead of the Tour de France. The big difference is that he goes to the Tour as a team leader, not a domestique. This means he can’t go to deep into the red during this race. In previous years, this has been his focus not the Tour. It will be interesting to see if he changes his approach.

Bradley Wiggins is the favourite for the race. Back to his old self in California, he looks super thin and super motivated. When Wiggins gets motivated, other riders get scared. He also has the added incentive of trying to embarrass Team Sky into taking him to the Tour. He will destroy the GC riders in the TTs, and then defend in the mountains. It will be very difficult for the other GC riders to take serious time out of him, in the mountains. For that reason, he has to be the big favourite. Will he arrive in the same condition as he finished California?

The other riders battling for the GC will be: Frank, Kreuziger, Dennis, Slagter, Pinot and Mollema.

Both Kreuziger and Mollema made the podium in 2013. The Dutchman has his sights set on the Tour, but won’t turn down any opportunities. The Czech rider, won this race back in 2008. He will ride for Contador, in the Tour, so will look to get a good result here.

Rohan Dennis will also put time into the other GC riders in the TTs, and although he coped well in California, I think he will struggle to stay with the best here. His team also have Tom Slagter as another option. He spoke of a desire to improve on longer climbs and his performance in Catalunya was very promising. He has a good chance of taking a stage win.

Thibaut Pinot arrives with good form and a whole team totally focused on him. He’ll lose time in the TTs but I expect big things from him, in the mountains.

Matthias Frank led the race in 2013, before a terrible final ITT. He is the leader of IAM Cycling and they want to do well in their home race. A podium spot is very realistic for him.

One other rider to keep an eye on is Sergi Chernetckii of Katusha. He’s only 24 years old, but can mix it with the best.

Away from the GC battle, there will be a few chances for the sprinters and tough men! Sprinter wise we have Cavendish, Modolo, Lobato, Kristoff, Swift, Van Poppel, Goss, Degenkolb, Mezgec, Sagan, Coquard, Ciolek and Dehaes. That’s quite a line-up considering the demanding parcours. Cavendish has his train with him, so expect sprint finishes when possible.

Orica also have Michael Albasini. He won 3 stages in Romandie and wants more here. There will be a few chances for him, but can he beat Sagan?

Prediction time…

Has to be Wiggins for me, with Kreuziger second.

David Hunter

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