The Tour de Suisse came to an end last Sunday for the men and the following Tuesday for the women. Spectators were treated to ten days of fantastic cycling. The Tour management is pleased with the overall assessment and thanks all those involved for their efforts.
“This Tour de Suisse was one of the most beautiful and challenging in recent years,” Olivier Senn, director of the Tour de Suisse, looks back on the race. “We experienced an exciting and varied Tour, which was hard to beat in terms of suspense and drama. Naturally this applies to the women’s race as well, which was only decided on the last bend.” Senn also addresses the difficulties of this year’s Tour: “The enormous heat demanded everything from the riders. In addition, four teams in the men’s race and two in the women’s race had to leave the Tour due to positive Covid tests. The exit of leader Alexandr Vlasov after the fifth stage, where he had taken the leader’s jersey, also hurt.” The entire Tour organisation, together with the team managers and the responsible governing bodies, handled this difficult situation very well. Olivier Senn: “Our Covid protection concept worked and saved us from further disaster in the critical phase. Overall, we draw a very positive conclusion. The Tour once again created a public festival atmosphere along the route. Our thanks must go to the numerous fans on the side of the road, our helpers and our partners. Without their great support, the Tour de Suisse would not be possible.”
No Respite for the Men
The men’s Tour de Suisse was one of the toughest in recent history. “We wanted an exciting and dynamic race, and that’s what we got,” said David Loosli, the Sport Director of the Tour de Suisse. Indeed, flat kilometres were few and far between at this year’s Tour de Suisse. Added to that was the heat, which made the race even more difficult and took some riders out of the equation. The first five stages were dominated by the classics riders and the sprinters who were able to handle the climbs. Williams, Leknessund, Sagan, Impey and Vlasov were the winners. Then it was off to the mountains proper. While the favourites did not reveal their true colours in the mountain finish to Moosalp, the final weekend saw the showdown. Sergio Higuita attacked successfully up to Malbun and snatched the yellow jersey from Jakob Fuglsang. In the Individual Time Trial around Vaduz he had no chance against Geraint Thomas. The Welshman eventually won the Tour by more than a minute ahead of Higuita and Fuglsang. “This victory is a great boost to my self-confidence going into the Tour de France. I am in good shape,” said Thomas at the end of the race. From the Swiss perspective, Stefan Küng was impressive. The time trial specialist held his own in the mountains and finished the tour strongly in fifth place overall.
Unbeatable Drama in the Women’s Race
The women’s race more than matched the men’s race in terms of excitement. Lucinda Brand won the first victory from a breakaway and with it the yellow jersey. After the Time Trial – on the same course as the men’s race – she had to surrender the jersey to Kristen Faulkner, the fastest by four seconds. The third stage was won by the Italian World Champion Elisa Balsamo. The fourth and final stage saw a showdown between race leader Kristen Faulkner and second overall Lucinda Brand. In the descent from Davos Wiesen, Brand made a surprise attack and with Jolanda Neff formed the leading duo. Together they built up a gap of 50 seconds until the last and decisive climb, when Jolanda Neff had to let the Dutchwoman go. Faulkner dug deep to break away from the peloton and catch up with Brand. In the closing metres in the biathlon arena, Brand kept the upper hand and also profited from Faulkner’s fall on the last tight corner. “This victory means an awful lot to me. Particularly because it’s a stage race and you have to be fit for four days,” Brand said at the finish, while Faulkner left the finish area with her head bowed. Switzerland’s Jolanda Neff performed solidly, finishing in fifth place overall.