Tour de France contenders convene at Tour de Suisse

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This article originally appeared on Velo News

Tickets to Copenhagen travel via Switzerland for a stack of Tour de France stars.

Adam Yates, Dani Martinez, Geraint Thomas, Aleksandr Vlasov and Thibaut Pinot are among the maillot jaune maybes that will start Tour de Suisse on Sunday in their final preparation for the Tour.

Remco Evenepoel makes for the sole GC contender set for the startline in Kusnacht that won’t be at the Danish Grand Depart as he braces for a week that will test his burgeoning talent to the max.

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Although Tour de France favorites Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar are racing elsewhere this month, eight days of old-school-style long stages, huge mountains and a long time trial will show who’s hot and who’s not just weeks before the Tour.

“With many riders and teams preparing for the Tour de France, or having just finished the Giro, the level of competition in this race is always very high. We are looking forward to it," said BikeExchange-Jayco director Mat Hayman.

Other Tour de France stars to keep tabs on in Switzerland include Sepp Kuss, Tom Pidcock, Michael Matthews, and the returning Peter Sagan.

Old school parcours puts finishing touches on form

<span class="article__caption">Can Martinez fly as high as Roglic and Pogacar at the Tour? Look to Suisse for clues.</span>
Can Martinez fly as high as Roglic and Pogacar at the Tour? Look to Suisse for clues.

It’s been six weeks or more since Ineos trio Martinez, Yates and Thomas raced, and checking their form after a long time atop Teide will bring intrigue.

Likewise, Vlasov hasn’t strapped on his race shoes for many weeks.

The Russian hit the start of the season hot and his Bora-Hansgrohe team has the wind at its back after Jai Hindley rumbled Richard Carapaz at the Giro. Vlasov is the ultimate dark-horse contender for the Tour - Suisse could show if he’s got it against the men he’ll need to beat in France next month.

All French eyes will on Pinot both in the next week in Switzerland and in the upcoming Tour.

The French talisman returns to his home grand tour for the first time since 2020 and looks close to calling time on the dark months that put him out of the frame as he struggled with injury.

Whether Pinot races for stages or turns his attention to GC could be decided in Switzerland in the next eight days.

"The Tour of Switzerland will give me a lot of answers," Pinot said last month. "Physically I expected some from the Tour of the Alps and the Tour of Romandie, I got them. It remains to be seen whether I am able to find my place at the head of the peloton and rub shoulders with the others."

And what to expect from Evenepoel, hot off victory at Tour of Norway? Like always, the bombastic Belgian will be turned up to 11.

Also read: Evenepoel wins five in seven

“Suisse is one of the hardest races of the season, with a strong field and very high level, so we'll see what Remco can do there," said Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sport director Wilfried Peeters.

There’s no easy days in Suisse, and that’s why so many Tour contenders are going.

Four stages nudging near 200km and a lot of uphill all week makes for the perfect finisher to Tour de France form. Be sure to tune in for two massive summit finishes on stages 6 and 7 and the final leg-burner TT next Sunday.

 

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