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Tour de Suisse - Discussion
Ulrich Ulriksen
Tour de Suisse

PT - 9 stages

3 flat, 1 hilly (1 HTF), 3 mountainous (2 MTF), 1 TTT, 1 MTT

Reporting got started a little late on this race so a team effort. Credit for ths outstanding preview to Fabianski with final edits from Nemolito. The less outstanding race reports will come from me. Also, yes the route is very slightly different from that posted in the profiles thread, for those of you who are picky about these things.

Grüessech - Bonjour - Buongiorno - Allegra - four official languages, one small country - welcome to Switzerland! The 14th edition of this traditional PT stage race is upon us - and for some it will probably be the final preparation race ahead of the season highlight in France!

But before we get to the favorites, let's take a look at the parcours that has been designed for the next nine days:


Honestly, looking at the order of the stages makes us ask serious questions about the state of mind of the race organizers. Believe it or not - although Switzerland is so small, the riders will actually cover more kilometers traveling between the stages than they will do on their bikes!

The start of the Tour is however completely fine. The race kicks off tomorrow by the shores of Lake Geneva, in Versoix, from where the riders will ride some slightly bumpy laps, to finish their day in Geneva - pretty much the furthest south-west you can get in Switzerland.

They will then transfer to Yverdon-les-Bains, which marks the southern end of Lake Neuchâtel, about 90km north of Geneva. A pan-flat team time trial awaits the riders there - which already tells us that the potential winner needs a strong time trial setup around him.

Fortunately, it's just a short stage, as the teams will have to do a 200km trip to Fiesch in Valais then, from where they'll start to the first mountain stage on day three. They will cross the Alps and finish pretty close to Liechtenstein, i.e. in eastern Switzerland.

Another 200km trip by car later, they'll arrive in Lengnau, close to Biel / Bienne (just slightly more than 20km away from the French border in the west...), just to ride back eastwards on day 4. The finish line will be in Gisenhard, near Schaffhausen - i.e. pretty far north, close to the German border this time.

At least, this time they can reach the start line of stage 5 by foot, as it's just a few kilometers away, in Oberstammheim. They will then stay close to the German border the whole day long, finishing on a hilly circuit in Gansingen - the Tour's only hilltop finish.

But then - bad news again. About 150km have to be done by car that evening, to arrive in the Jura Neuchâtelois, in Le Locle - about 2km away from the French border. Yes, yes, Switzerland is a small country... That sixth stage will then mainly take place in the Jura mountains, i.e. not really high ones, but almost no flat roads. The first mountaintop finish in Mont Tendre (tender mountain) in the Vaud part of the Jura will round off the day.

However, the organizers felt like the longest stage ending in a MTF isn't enough - hence they scheduled a 300+km road trip to Ticino, namely to Bellinzona, for the start of day six. That flattest stage of the race will then take place on a circuit ending in Tenero, by the shores of Lake Maggiore.

Had we stayed in that region, that long trip might have been defendable - but stage 7 then again starts by the shores of Lake Neuchâtel, so it's again a 300km trip back to Bonvillars. Which by the way is 60km away from the stage 6 finish line... But nevermind. At least, day eight will be a short one, with a 20km mountain time trial up to Bullet.

The strongest GC riders will however still finish their day pretty late - and then it's - you guess it - back to the east once again. The final stage will kick off from Landquart, in the Grisons, about 300km away from Bullet. At least, it was the last transfer - and the top riders will hopefully have saved their last bullet for that day, as the Tour de Suisse ends with a mountain top finish in Arosa.

So, while we have about 1,200km of racing, the distance covered between the stages easily exceeds 1,500km, after wildly jumping around from west to east and reverse. So this years winner not only needs great skills on the bike, but also good nerves given the many construction sites on Switzerland's highways - and an exceptional recovery after all those long trips.

While we can't really tell anything about those skills, we at least know about the riders' strengths and weaknesses on their bikes. A look at the race's history also tells us what kinds of skills will be needed to succeed here:


2019 pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/iso.png Phinney
2018 pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pum.png Herklotz
2017 pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/akm.png Taaramäe
2016 pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eav.png A. Schleck
2015 pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gen.png Spilak
2014 pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eav.png A. Schleck
2013 pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ubs.png Amador
2012 pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/p4e.png Pluchkin
2011 pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/iso.png Phinney
2010 Sella
2009 F. Schleck
2008 Cunego
2007 Vinokourov

Two former winners are returning this year: declining ManGame legend pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eav.png Schleck, and rising legend pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pum.png Herklotz. But that's not all; we said earlier that this race could be a final test before the Tour de France for several riders - three of which actually could be among the favorites for the biggest race of the year - if they participate, what we don't know yet. Let's take a look at those who are here, though, along with their most important domestiques.

Tier I

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gzl.png Angel Madrazo85767781808172
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gzl.png Louis Vervaeke76737076777869
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gzl.png Patrick Konrad75767176737269

The reigning TdF champion leads the peloton in this race. Of the Tier I contenders, he's the single best climber, the best time trialist and has the best stamina and recovery of the entire peloton. If he has a slight weakness, then it must be his explosivity, or maybe his skills on flat roads. But given his skillset, he should especially be able to make great use of stage eight, the mountain time trial - and of course the mountaintop finishes.

It's difficult to just pick his two most important domestiques, as five of them actually are good climbers and/or puncheurs. We list pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gzl.png Vervaeke, who should be of great help given his good resistance, which puts him slightly above pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gzl.png Geoghegan Hart. And pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gzl.png Konrad was selected because other than being a good climber, he should be the strongest helper in the hills. But one thing is clear by now: pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gzl.png Gazelle's main trump card is team depth.

But of course, support in the mountains isn't enough in this race, given the long team time trial. While they don't have the absolute strongest team here, they should still be fighting for a Top on that stage, as we'll see later. All in all, a great lineup, and one that will definitely make pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gzl.png Madrazo the man to beat!

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pum.png Silvio Herklotz84797479807876
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pum.png Colin Stüssi77737577737866
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pum.png Yuriy Vasyliv77747278727567

The German, despite only being 26 years old, is already among the world's top stage racers. Winning the 2018 Vuelta was his masterpiece so far - and that same year he won his first Tour de Suisse as well. Hence, he will aim at joining pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eav.png Schleck and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/iso.png Phinney on the two-times-winners list of the race - and he has all it takes to be successful! He's just slightly worse than pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gzl.png Madrazo on the long climbs, but stronger and especially more explosive on the shorter ones, being the strongest puncheur on the startlist. What might hurt him most, though, are his weaker skills against the clock. It remains to be seen how much of a factor that is in a mountain time trial, though.

In terms of support cast, he definitely cannot complain. Compatriot pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pum.png Vasyliv and local rider pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pum.png Stüssi are great domestiques for the mountains - and he doesn't really need any strong helpers for the hills anyway. But first and foremost, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pum.png Team Puma - SAP are among the top contenders for the team time trial on day two, which might be enough to outweigh the slight deficit in mountains and time trial compared with pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gzl.png Madrazo. Chances are really high one of those two riders will stand on top by the end of the race!

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnm.png Lachlan Morton84767379787867
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnm.png Brendan Canty75737571717367
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnm.png Patrick Lane74766370687273

Or will last year's TdF 3rd run away with the win? After years of inexplicably weak performances, the Australian finally lived up to his potential in 2019, and must be counted among the top favorites as well given his climbing skills! He's listed in 3rd position "only" as he lacks pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gzl.png Madrazo's time trial skills and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pum.png Herklotz' punch - in both disciplines he's pretty much on the level of the other rider of this duo, though. Meaning he's still a great GC contender and could definitely beat the others on a good day!

When it comes down to the team support, it might be a tad weaker than the two others in the mountains. But not only this; they actually bring a rather weak TTT setup for pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnm.png Bennelong - Mitchelton standards. Plus, the team has not exclusively been set up to support their GC leader, as we'll see later on. All of this combined probably means that pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnm.png Morton should be favorite for 3rd place - but could potentially still go higher up!

We're pretty sure one of these three will take the win this year. Why? Because there's no real Tier II on the start list. However, there are 11 riders with mountain stats of 80 and 81, so we still tried to separate into two tiers - that's why we have Tiers 2.5 and 3.

Tier II.V

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kng.png Rafael Reis81737678767863
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kng.png Daniel Teklehaimanot77747472727670
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kng.png Yevgeniy Gidich75787377767274

The Portuguese had an absolutely disappointing Giro d'Italia, and a similarly bad Vuelta. He makes it to the upper half-tier on one hand because of his climbing skills, where he's among those who come next behind the Top 3. Furthermore, he's a good time trialist, which might make the difference between a decent and a good race on stage 8.

But what could be most important is the team support. Sure, his teammates aren't among the best climbers - but pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kng.png Gidich is the shared second best puncheur on the startlist and could do a great job for his leader on shorter inclines! First and foremost, however, comes the team's strength in the team time trial. In fact, they won the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia, demonstrating their power. If they can deliver a similar performance again, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kng.png Reis could be in a great position after stage two - and why not get the leader jersey the day after?

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rak.png Chen Shikai81717674767866
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rak.png Teodoro Costagli79717070717667
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rak.png Jakub Kratochvila76777070687264

In the Giro, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rak.png Shikai and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kng.png Reis were very similar until the rather inexplicably cracked - so we expect these two to show us a great battle again for the spots behind the podium! Just like the Portuguese, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rak.png Shikai is a good time trialist, so he'll be looking forward to stage 8 for sure! He's not the strongest in the hills, though, so he'll be glad there's only one hilly stage.

The climbing support looks great on paper, as pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rak.png Costagli would be listed among the tier 5 riders - if those were actually presented. However, he's not always done a great job in supporting his leader so far... pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rak.png Kratochvila, on the other hand, is a great hybrid rider, who's among the strongest puncheurs present.

Just like the team presented before, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rak.png Rakuten Pro Cycling has a very solid team time trial lineup. Although none of the riders are world class on their own, the squad is very well-balanced - with the uphill helpers being the worst of the team against the clock. Creating a great situation for their leader will surely be key on stage 2 for them as well!

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ino.png Martijn Keizer81718175797973
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ino.png Bartosz Warchol78746776777370
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ino.png Pim Ligthart54587872666874

If the two first riders in this tier were good time trialist, this one here definitely is world class. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ino.png Keizer is the strongest rider on the startlist against the clock - and given that he's a good climber as well, he must be one of the top favorites for stage 8. Which already tells us where he surely hopes to make the difference to all those similarly strong climbers. His great resistance surely won't be a disadvantage in his quest for glory.

However, you may have noticed that he's the first GC contender for whom we haven't listed two uphill domestiques - simply because there aren't two notable ones. While pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ino.png Warchol surely provides great support, the rest of the team doesn't really know what mountains look like. This is also because they also target other stages, as we'll see later.

Instead, we have listed the second strongest time trialist behind the team leader, as pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ino.png Ligthart's job will be to keep the team's deficit as small as possible on stage two. While there are some good time trialists in their lineup, the squad isn't well-balanced at all in this respect - meaning it could go either way. That stage will surely be key in terms of GC perspective!

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/yor.png Louis Meintjes80787177767869
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/yor.png Aleksa Crncevic74697169697369
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/yor.png Jerome Coppel64748175756971

If we list a slightly weaker climber in this tier, we need some good reasons to do so. As the South African definitely isn't among the best time trialists, there must be something else. And indeed; together with pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kng.png Gidich, he's the shared second strongest hill rider on the startlist, so he has this additional ace up his sleeve compared to most others from this tier.

Plus, although the support in the mountains is pretty weak, he does have some world-class time trialists by his side. The lineup is all but balanced for the team time trial, though, with some great and some decent time trialists - if they find the perfect share of the workload, they could definitely pull off a great result on day two - giving their leader a great launch pad for the rest of the race!

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ubs.png Patrick Schelling80757275767370
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ubs.png Thery Schir77727273727465
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ubs.png Jorge Abreu73737575717373

Yes, you're officially allowed to call me a patriot. But besides pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ubs.png Schelling's nationality, there are some other reasons to list him up here. First, he's a pretty decent puncheur as well, although by far not as strong as pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/yor.png Meintjes. His acceleration is better than many others', which might be pretty useful.

The main reason to list him in Tier 2.5 is his team, though. Although there's only one other good climber on the team, some others should be able to provide some help early on in mountain stages. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ubs.png Abreu, who is listed here, is the best balanced of them, being decent in both mountains and hills - and given that he's the weakest time trialist besides the two climbers, that gives a big hint about the team's strong lineup for stage 2. Not many teams are stronger on paper than the Swiss outfit - let's see which heights the home bonus can carry them up to!

Tier III

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eav.png Andy Schleck81717071767673
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eav.png Alex Kirsch79747175737567
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eav.png Bob Jungels64687874756963

Putting a ManGame legend down to Tier 3 might sound strange, but pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eav.png Schleck definitely isn't the superstar he once was anymore. Although becoming the first rider to win this race three times looks like an unrealistic goal, his skillset still should make him capable of getting a Top 10 result. He's still a great climber, but his decline in the hills and in the TT isn't in his favor.

On the other hand, he has one of the strongest mountain domestiques in the peloton by his side, who moreover is stronger than his leader in the hills. And he has a pretty well-balanced TTT lineup at his service, led by pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eav.png Jungels. However, they are by far not as strong overall like e.g. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ubs.png Team UBS - which, along with the hill and TT stats - actually made pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eav.png Schleck drop to Tier 3. Up to him to prove us wrong!

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mos.png Jan Hirt81747377797976
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mos.png Josef Hosek75746474747470
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mos.png Michael Hepburn64667974777269

The Czech actually has a skillset worthy of the upper half-tier - but we'll see in an instant why he's down here. He's still a decent puncheur, a decent time trialists - and has a great resistance, trailing the strongest just by little in this respect. His acceleration even matches pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pum.png Herklotz', so why not Tier 2.5 for him?

Well, you guessed it: because of the support. Nothing against pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mos.png Hosek, but being the only one besides his leader to more or less know how to handle uphills might not be enough. And while pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mos.png Hepburn surely is a great asset for the TTT lineup, the team is just not balanced enough to deliver a good time on day 2 - which will likely put their leader into a rather bad situation compared to many others. That's why.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/iso.png Primoz Roglic80767275767574
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/iso.png Aleksandar Roman77756471737476
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/iso.png Mikel Bizkarra76726372727273

We have yet another great climber who is a good puncheur as well. His time trial skills are decent as well, so he shouldn't lose too much time in the mountain time trial. His physical stats are however slightly weaker than pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mos.png Hirt's, but a decent acceleration could cover some of those "weaknesses".

What it can't cover, however, is the weak time trial setup. The leader himself is the third strongest from his team against the clock, so after those 35km on stage two, he'll likely have a decisive gap to some similar climbers already. At least, his support in the mountains should be really good - if pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/iso.png Roman doesn't get green light to go for the U25 jersey, that is.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/isa.png Natnael Berhane81756677747368
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/isa.png Jianhua Ji79746871677163
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/isa.png Piter Campero78706975707271

We got yet another African rider on the list - who however is the weakest time trialist of all those presented in detail. This disadvantage may well outweigh his great climbing skills and his strength on the hills. Having clearly the lowest resistance of all top climbers unfortunately won't help him, either.

What will definitely help him, though, is the great mountain support. No other GC contender can rely on such strong climbers - on paper, at least. Because their physical stats aren't quite top-notch, either. And what makes the Eritrean's situation even worse is that his team is deemed to lose quite a lot of time on that TTT as well - and given his skillset, it's honestly hard to see how he could make up for all of this...

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Hugh Carthy81756777767869
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Milan Menten64736773757268
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Stefan De Bod69707574767068

Second-last comes PCT rider pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Carthy - whose skillset is really similar to pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/isa.png Berhane's, except that he has a better resistance. He's still listed after the Eritrean, as he's got pretty much no team support at all. Nobody else can climb, and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Menten can just provide some help on the hills. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png De Bod is the only one on the team who knows how to handle a time trial bike - which means that pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Farfetch will likely be competing for last place in the team time trial. Not the best circumstances to pull off a good GC result... At least, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Carthy doesn't have any pressure at all, given that no points are at stake for the wildcard team.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/vlv.png Richard Antonio Carapaz80717271767765
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/vlv.png Havard Blikra75756572707372
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/vlv.png Lucas Eriksson66766176737474

And finally, we present you the pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/vlv.png Volvo leader. His characteristics are good climbing skills - obviously - decent hill and TT stats, and a pretty good resistance. Nothing too shabby compared with some others - so why does he come last?

First of all, because his team is the only one that feels that sending only 6 riders to this race should be fine. Which already puts them at a disadvantage concerning the team time trial. Moreover, they are among the weakest teams in that discipline as well - so the Ecuadorian might actually rather go for stages than for the GC.

The support in the mountains isn't very good, either. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/vlv.png Blikra sure is a decent hybrid rider, but not the great climber it might take to really support his leader. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/vlv.png Eriksson should be a good choice for the shorter uphills, though.

Are you lost after having been presented all those 14 riders? Well, here's the overview, along with some more riders we haven't mentioned yet.


pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gzl.png Madrazo85767781808172
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pum.png Herklotz84797479807876
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnm.png Morton84767379787867
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Carthy81756777767869
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/isa.png Berhane81756677747368
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mos.png Hirt81747377797976
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kng.png Reis81737678767863
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ino.png Keizer81718175797973
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rak.png Shikai81717674767866
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eav.png Schleck81717071767673
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/yor.png Meintjes80787177767869
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/iso.png Roglic80767275767574
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ubs.png Schelling80757275767370
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/vlv.png Carapaz80717271767765
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gen.png Talansky79777275767769
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fes.png Bongiorno79756877777769
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eav.png Kirsch79747175737567
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/isa.png Ji79746871677163
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/aeg.png Velits79727169686762
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rak.png Costagli79717070717667
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/evo.png Vosekalns78756269737271
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ino.png Warchol78746776777370
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ebd.png Aru78746474757670
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/isa.png Campero78706975707271

Besides those presented above, we have several team leaders in this list as well: pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gen.png Talansky, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fes.png Bongiorno, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/aeg.png Velits, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/evo.png Vosekalns and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ebd.png Aru. Teams who don't even make this list are pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/afk.png Air France - KLM, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/akm.png Aker - MOT, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/grm.png Grieg-Maersk, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/tti.png Team Tinkoff - La Datcha and the second wildcard team, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/sct.png Swisslion Cycling Team.

And then, we have some stage hunters, who made the trip mainly for stage 5 - the puncheurs:


pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pum.png Herklotz79848076
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/yor.png Meintjes78807669
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kng.png Gidich78757674
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gen.png Talansky77797669
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rak.png Kratochvila77766864
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fes.png Van Niekerk77737574
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/aeg.png Vliegen77677074

Given that there's only one realistic chance in nine days, none of the world-class puncheurs has made the trip. In this list, we have three GC contenders, and three pure stage hunters - if they aren't on domestique duties.

We have a little more competition for the flat stages, as there are three of them. The following sprinters have come to Switzerland:


pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ino.png Vanderbiest82776974
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/yor.png Enger81787373
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/tti.png Moser80796972
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/evo.png Eislers80767677
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnm.png Meyer80766572
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ino.png Goss80756872
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eav.png Holloway79817677
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Van der Sande79797375
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mos.png Granjel Cabrera79756974
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/isa.png Contreras78807572
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fes.png Bouglas78786772

Especially pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ino.png Indosat are going all-in on the sprints, bringing both pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ino.png Vanderbiest and his luxe leadout pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ino.png Goss. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/yor.png Enger has pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/yor.png Boudat, who just didn't make the list, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/evo.png Eislers is supported by local hero pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/evo.png Chavanne, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Van der Sande by pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Kamberaj and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mos.png Granjel Cabrera has pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mos.png Baska by his side. All others will just try to find the right wheel - a strategy that was successful more often than not this year.

We won't list the time trialists, as the pure specialists without any climbing skills won't have a chance to win the MTT anyway - and the best climbers have already been presented. Instead, let's take a look at the teams' TTT lineups!

Sorted by whole team average

TeamTop 3Top 5Top 8
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/tti.png Team Tinkoff - La Datcha79.378.876.1
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gen.png Generali77.77776
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pum.png Team Puma - SAP7877.275.9
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kng.png King Power78.777.475.8
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ubs.png Team UBS78.377.475.8
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rak.png Rakuten Pro Cycling76.37674.4
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/grm.png Grieg-Maersk76.775.874.1
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/yor.png cycleYorkshire8077.674
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gzl.png Gazelle76.375.673.9
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/eav.png EA Vesuvio75.773.672.3
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnm.png Bennelong - Mitchelton75.774.671.9
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ino.png Indosat Ooredoo7875.671.8
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/akm.png Aker - MOT74.773.670.5
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/mos.png Moser - Sygic76.373.868.9
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/aeg.png Aegon - Peroni73.37268.6
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/isa.png ISA - Hexacta717068.5
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/iso.png Isostar - Specialized73.37167.8
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/sct.png Swisslion Cycling Team73.37167.8
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fes.png Festina - OAKA71.37067.5
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/afk.png Air France - KLM74.371.667.3
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/vlv.png Volvo acc. by Spotify6966.665.2
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fpc.png Farfetch Pro Cycling69.768.265.1
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ebd.png eBuddy70.76865
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/evo.png Evonik - ELKO666563

It looks like five teams should stand above the rest, considering the whole team. Both pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/yor.png cycleYorkshire and pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ino.png Indosat Ooredoo might however enter the stage win competition as well, if they find an optimal work distribution. The best balanced team should be pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gen.png Generali, as they only differ by 1.7 stat points between the Top 3 and the entire team - can they make good use of this advantage?

In terms of GC, it looks like this could be a great stage for pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/pum.png Herklotz, pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kng.png Reis of pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ubs.png Schelling, with pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/rak.png Shikai probably not far off as well. Time will tell...

And just for completion, let's take a look at what the future might bring - here are the top U25 riders:


pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/iso.png Roman77756471737476
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gzl.png Geoghegan Hart76737474737369
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kng.png Gidich75787377767274
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/evo.png Blums75756870727268
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ebd.png Rodriguez75746869737273
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/bnm.png O'Connor75696968717368
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/akm.png Foss74697274767568
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/yor.png Crncevic74697169697369
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fes.png Van Niekerk73776572757674
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/evo.png Budenieks73746370747173
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/tti.png Vlasov73717575707669
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/fes.png Giannoutsos73696872747066
pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kng.png Fung73687266707170

Of course, most of them will likely be on domestique duties. pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/kng.png Gidich might well be the early leader of the standings, as his team is high up in the TTT ranking. The same holds for pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/tti.png Vlasov, who is however weaker on the uphills - especially on the short ones.

pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/iso.png Roman is the best climber, but he might lose too much time on stage two - and given his own time trial skills, the mountain TT will likely not favor him, either. It however does favor pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/gzl.png Geoghegan Hart - and along with a decent TTT result that's expected, he might well take this jersey home!

So, now you almost know everything you have to know about the race - probably more than you'd have wished to know - but here's the final thing you're waiting for: the startlist!



Seven Swiss riders have been selected to compete in their home country - the main focus obviously being on pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ubs.png Team UBS and their leader pcmdaily.com/images/mg/2020/Micros/ubs.png Schelling. Let's see if anyone else can pull off a notable result here!
Man Game: McCormick Pro Cycling
Nice preview, thanks for that!

I actually like our lineup here and the startlist is to my liking as well. Morton simply must do the podium, obviously. Stage results would be nice, so it's kinda good there's a mountain time trial, where he will be in shape hopefully. The TTT setup is rather weak, yes, but with Morton's limited TT skills and some traumatic experiences with him in TTTs, it's been our strategy for a while now Wink

Meyer with a potential shot at sprints and O'Connor amongst the better U25 riders.
Great preview Smile

Surprised we actually have a not too bad TTT lineup given that only 4 are TTers and none are maxed yet. No chance to compete with Evonik for that last spot Pfft

Pretty much here just to develop and get into as many breakaways as possible. I guess it should be a battle between Madrazo and Herklotz for the win Smile


"I am a cyclist, I may not be the best, but that is what I strive to be. I may never get there, but I will never quit trying." - Tadej Pogačar
We brought Roglic for the Top10 and Roman for the white jersey, so that is what we're aiming for. Hopefully our weak TTT line-up leads us to lots of attacks once it's done.
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Having a team that looks quite a lot like my Giro outfit here I expect absolutely nothing. We didn't get a good GC nor any interesting breaks there so I can see that happen again.

On paper a battle for a 10-15th GC spot should be possible for Bongiorno and a fight for a stagewin should also be possible for him or van Niekerk. I don't see it happen though.

Bouglas as our sprinter - Well...

Great preview!

This is a pretty cool and diverse short tour.
Looking at past performances, Herklotz is probably the number one favorite. But with the right daily form I hope Madrazo can turn it into a tense battle.

Will also be rooting for Geoghegan Hart as he has a solid chance to contest white.
Was actually sure that Olivier was racing here, but guess I must wait for Dauphine...so it`s again just Velits or maybe Ciccone to show something with Vliegen surprisingly being no.1 for me and with outsider chances on the hillier finishes, where he won`t stand a chance against Herklotz and others anyway.

The longer I look at the squad, the more I think, it`s one of the weakest lineups all year. No real leader, no sprinter, not the strongest break riders.

So they hopefully prove me wrong and do well in breaks. In especially Toupalik has shown this already, while the climbers are yet to prove their decent stats at all this season.

GC wise it might be close but I see Herklotz ahead of Madrazo while Morton could be an outsider to win but more likely podium with some riders being in for a surprise I guess such as Keizer, Carthy, Meintjes.
Great preview, I'm very excited for this race. There is a very tough field here but I am cautiously optimistic that Schelling will have a good race. I think the TTT will be important for his chances. End goal is somewhere in the top 10.
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Quite a strong startlist, compared to last year when Brändle got me a 6th GC place. Reis should be able to deliver something similar, especially being backed by a strong TT squad. It is his last race this season, so I hope he will for once spare me of one of his infamous bonks. Gidich's race days here are probably wasted. I'm not really sure why I sent him here, but I hope he can show himself at some point.

Thanks for the great preview, everyone involved!
Was not quite sure what to do with Würtz and Stake Laengen, but in the opted to send them to Dauphiné instead. Thus the TTT squad is not as good as it could be, but hope we can get a decent result there and hope for some attacks on the flatter stages. Iturria will hopefully be able to do a decent GC result.

Should be some quality racing with Madrazo, Morton and Herklotz for the GC. Looking forward to it. Thanks for a great preview, guys!
Yes, I will actually be the one to mention the profile changes, as they at least have the chance to impact us negatively.

Stages 6 and 9 in particular likely will see FL and HIL have less of an impact now, with the final climb on stage 6 becoming significantly less steep, the false flat to the last kicker on stage 9 shortened massively, and said final rise getting its gradient reduced as well.

Coincidentally, FL and HIL are exactly the two stats Herklotz needs to utilize in the fight against Madrazo, as that is where his only relevant advantages lie at the moment.
I didn't spend 2.8m for fun.

On the other hand, even knowing these changes in advance wouldn't have made me switch to the Dauphine, so we just have to deal with that now.

But anyway, we still have a great opportunity to win this race on this route, with full focus on the early TTT to create a gap to Madrazo and Morton, and stages 3+5 to attempt to drop whoever is left in front in the GC.
Going into stage 6 in the leader's jersey would be a massive boost and hopefully elevate Herklotz to the level of Madrazo to defend the lead there, which would again be very helpful in the MTT where we need a good day.
Ideally, we then enter the last stage in yellow and see the expected breakaway win to force Madrazo to make up the time difference entirely on the road.

To achieve this, and equally importantly, to prepare our riders for the Tour de France which will have a similar structure of an early TTT that we would like to use to our advantage, I can hereby announce that the 8 riders present in Switzerland are the exact lineup that will also start the TdF for our team!

Herklotz as the captain needs no further introduction, so straight to our two superdomestiques Colin Stüssi and Yuriy Vasyliv.
Both have the perfect allround skillset for GTs and a mini-GT like this, with good FL, MO and TT and only their puncheur skills lacking a bit. That shouldn't come into play much though if we set the pace on the climbs ourselves as we can adjust that to our liking.
Further climbing support comes from our fan favorite Patrick Bevin, who trades a better TT for slightly weaker MO.

And actually, that's where the pure climbers end already. That's a risk, and took a lot of time agreeing on in planning, but a risk we need to take to improve our chances to get ahead of the opposition before the climbing starts.

We then bring our two best pure TTers in Jasha Sütterlin and Nils Politt, who are present for one stage and one stage only, but have proven themselves over the past years to be the deciding factor in our great TTT results.
And last but not least, our two rising, more allround youngsters Filippo Ganna and Rémi Cavagna add more TT power to the lineup without sacrificing utility on hilly stages and on the first half of mountain stages.

With this lineup, it seems like we at least hit the mark regarding the TTT here, as we should be able to beat Gazelle and Bennelong, and the latter by a particularly decisive margin. After that, it'll be interesting to find out if three climbers in support of Herklotz are enough.
Luckily, the climbing strength of the field drastically reduces after Madrazo and Morton, so even in the worst case, there should be absolutely no way of missing the podium here.

So overall, we're happy to see Herklotz supported by three more Germans and a Swiss to form our GC core this season, and I'm very excited to see the dress rehearsal for our focus GT of the year here in the TdS!
Really need Shikai to Top 5 here and get some solid stage results. I've brought a pretty good team here, and while Shikai defintiely isn't a podium contender based on stats, the TTT could be very important, so Im hoping we can get an advantage over some of the weaker squads there.
redordead wrote:
Surprised we actually have a not too bad TTT lineup given that only 4 are TTers and none are maxed yet. No chance to compete with Evonik for that last spot Pfft

You were foolish if you thought you had a chance to compete with us Cool

Deliberately tried to send a very weak setup here so that ideally Vosekalns can already join the break on stage 3 and go for the KOM points. Blums is the only one with a tt stat of over 65 and he is here because i wanted to split up my U25 guys so that one of them can benefit if one of the two races ends up weaker. Quite nice to see Blums and Budenieks on the list of U25 contenders, ideally they use the later stages to climb that ranking via breaks.

Both my stage racers are in the Dauphine so i completely rely on stage success here. Eislers as a pretty solid sprinter who had one good and one bad GT could deliver us sth on the flat stages with Chavanne or alternatively we have a couple of good stage hunter for the uphill stages with basically everyone else reasonable fits for that.

Doubt that the profile changes would have made any impact to my team selection as the split was mostly decided based around the flat TT kilometres in Dauphine + the TTT here.

Thanks for the preview!
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0 expectations here.
I can only second alexkr00 Pfft No expectations. To be represented in a breakaway or two, and it doesn't matter if the breakaway succeeds or not, must be our goal, I guess.
I'll take that 15th place for Herklotz, who knows if that one point becomes relevant in the points classification.

Cavagna with a weird attempt to mingle with far better sprinters, I like that he tried though and just missing the Top 10 with 73 sprint is a fair result.

On the downside, we'll never ever catch Vesuvio like this.

I hope this got everyone's legs ready for the TTT tomorrow, the most important stage for everyone on the team but Herklotz.
Top 3 on the day would be awesome, but the gaps are what matter the most.
What the fuck was that?
Indosat - ANZ HQ

"This Schleck sandwich is going to cause serious indigestion for Evans" - Phil Liggett
We repeat the achievement from Paris-Nice earlier this season and take hold of the white jersey for a day Grin

So it's already a successful race for the Dev team. Let's see if we can make it in the breakaway on every stage Smile


"I am a cyclist, I may not be the best, but that is what I strive to be. I may never get there, but I will never quit trying." - Tadej Pogačar
Encouraging to see Silva up front and go for it. Maybe he even had something left, as it looked like he was always boxed in and following wheels. Fingers crossed he can try another time if we get more sprint stages Smile

Holloway is just impressive. Congratulations, SN!
That's a very nice result Bouglas. I was a bit annoyed when we didn't join the breakaway, but with Bouglas somewhat being an outsider I guess it's OK. And getting 3rd is great.

Too bad he always get overrun by the breakaway riders in the GC points though. In the Giro he was 3rd in the first stage and got 5th GC = 0 points. Here he is 3rd on the stage and got 4th GC = 0 points.

But whatever points he can score is much appreciated. And he's doing one hell of a job in comparison to Nizzolo.

Holloway among the top 3 sprinters of the season I suppose. Quite the achievement.

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