Tour de Suisse 2024: route, favorites and how to watch

Road 06/06/24 17:28 Migue A.

Although of lesser historical significance, but not of category, the Tour de Suisse is also a World Tour event, similar to the Critérium du Dauphiné in terms of the races leading up to the Tour de France. It serves as an important test for several riders who have raised many doubts in recent times and will have to prove, first to themselves, that their preparation for the French race is on the right track.

The road to the Tour de France goes through the Tour de Suisse

Although it shares the spotlight with the Critérium du Dauphiné, the more traditional approach to the Tour de France for most cyclists aiming to tackle the Grand Boucle with guarantees, the Tour de Suisse offers a less media-covered option with less pressure to fine-tune their form for the Tour de France. For the top cyclists, it represents a final test to assess their real chances in the French race.

This race also brings back the tragic memory of Gino Mader's death on one of the descents that mark the race just a year ago, so we have no doubt that the organization of the Tour de Suisse 2024 will use this edition to pay a well-deserved tribute to the late cyclist.

Route of the Tour de Suisse 2024

The Tour de Suisse starts on June 9, the same day the Critérium du Dauphiné ends, and will run until the 18th with a total of 9 stages, including 2 time trials, challenging stages, and high mountain days that provide the ideal scenario to evaluate what may happen in the Tour de France.

The race kicks off with an individual time trial of just 4.8 kilometers in the surroundings of Vaduz, the capital of the tiny country of Liechtenstein, nestled between Switzerland and Austria. This short time trial should not have any consequences on the general classification. The real Tour de Suisse starts the next day with a 176-kilometer stage from Vaduz to Regensdorf, featuring a hilly profile with a small third-category climb 10 km from the finish that could disrupt a potential sprint. The third stage is also challenging, with the last 40 kilometers being particularly demanding, likely leading many riders to try their luck in a breakaway.

The fourth stage will see the favorites start to show their cards with the first mountaintop finish at the well-known San Gotardo pass. This climb will be the only point of contention in an otherwise flat stage until reaching the slopes of this mountain, which is divided into two consecutive climbs, making the last 40 kilometers mostly uphill.

The fifth stage is also mountainous but with a peculiar stage configuration, starting with brutal ascents to Ronco and Cari, with the latter being the same climb that will serve as the finish line 100 kilometers later. In between, a completely flat route that will likely thwart the hopes of those trying to take advantage of the tough start to establish a successful breakaway.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are reserved for the most decisive stages, starting with the sixth stage where cyclists will face another of Switzerland's most relevant climbs, the Nufenenpass, and a new mountaintop finish in Blatten, the third consecutive one, with a steep 6-kilometer climb at an average gradient of 9%.

The seventh stage is short and explosive, covering just 118 kilometers with a circuit-like route starting and finishing in Villars sur Ollon, including a passage through the Col de la Croix, first at the start and then after the first lap. With just a couple of kilometers at an 8.9% average gradient and the Col de Villars sur Ollon, a 7-kilometer climb at over 8% average gradient, this stage will test the riders before the two final laps.

The climb to Villars sur Ollon will also be featured in the last stage, exactly the same climb, but in a challenging time trial format starting from the UCI headquarters in Aigle, right at the foot of the mountain where Villars sur Ollon is located. With almost 16 kilometers, including a flat approach to the start of the climb, this stage will define the general classification of the Tour de Suisse 2024.

Favorites to Win the Tour de Suisse 2024

With a participation level almost on par with the Tour de France at the Critérium du Dauphiné currently taking place, the Tour de Suisse 2024 features a slightly lower level of riders, but it will still be a tough race for those aiming for the overall victory as they will face strong competitors.

Interestingly, the list of favorites for the victory starts with a man who is not planning to participate in the Tour de France, Mattias Skejmose, who returns after a strong start to the season, winning a stage in Paris-Nice and finishing third in the Itzulia. Also within the Lidl-Trek team, attention should be paid to the young Thibau Nys, who recently won the Tour of Hungary and has been performing well in the Tour of Norway.

It will be interesting to see how Egan Bernal approaches the Tour de France, as he has been improving throughout the season, resembling the cyclist who amazed us a few years ago. INEOS Grenadiers has supported him with solid names, including Tom Pidcock, who is taking a break from his successful mountain bike campaign to focus on road racing and prepare for the Olympics in the XCO discipline.

We will also be eager to see Cian Uijtdebroeks return to competition after his abandonment in the Giro d'Italia while in 5th place overall. There are no other races scheduled for him beyond the Tour de Suisse, so Visma-Lease a Bike may still be considering how to plan the rest of his season.

We cannot overlook the UAE Team Emirates, who present a team in Switzerland where Joao Almeida would have been the leader in any other season. However, among his teammates is Isaac del Toro, whose limits are yet to be known, and the resilient Adam Yates, who should be the reliable support for Pogacar and Ayuso in the Tour de France when tough times come during the three-week competition.

Lastly, we have the Movistar Team, always a wildcard, with a subdued Enric Mas tasked with proving he has what it takes to confidently compete in the upcoming Tour de France. He will lead a team where the support of Nairo Quintana and Nelson Oliveira, both of whom performed well in the Giro d'Italia, will be essential to cover his back on the challenging Swiss terrain. The young Pelayo Sánchez will also be present, aiming to confirm the promising performances he showed during the Corsa Rosa.

How to Watch the Tour de Suisse 2024

Currently, the only channel confirmed to broadcast the Tour de Suisse 2024 is the Basque regional channel EITB. Fortunately, for those outside that community, it is possible to watch the stages through their web platform EITB starting at 3:00 PM, except for the initial time trial whose coverage will start at 4:00 PM.



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