Andermatt, June 13, 2021 – The two leading South American riders before the men’s final stage, Richard Carapaz (ECU) and Rigoberto Uran (COL), as well as Elizabeth Deignan (GBR) with her dominant victory in the first women’s edition of the Tour de Suisse, combined with strong performances of the Swiss riders, coloured the Swiss roads over the past nine days.
The final decision to go ahead with the Tour de Suisse was made only six weeks before the start of the event. Obviously there was the pandemic but the new lead sponsor of the Tour de Suisse also had to deal with extended closure of several Alpine passes, forcing course changes in two stages. Despite these difficult circumstances the management of the Tour de Suisse feels the balance tilts to the positive side.
The women kicked off the 84th edition of the Tour de Suisse. A total of 102 riders from 17 teams headed to Frauenfeld for the first-ever TdS Women. Swiss champion Elise Chabbey made up for a perfect start with the opening stage victory and yellow leader’s jersey. Pre-race favourite Elizabeth Deignan excelled on day 2 by taking the overall victory.
Race director Olivier Senn is more than satisfied with the first-ever edition of the TdS Women: “Despite the covid-restrictions and financial uncertainties we were determined to finally lay the foundation for a sustainable women’s stage race at the highest level. The compact format with only two stages and no transfers allowed us to draw important lessons towards future editions. We will now evaluate this edition and come up with a resilient concept for the upcoming years.”
In the men’s race, Thurgau residents Stefan Küng (28) and Stefan Bissegger (22) were the top favourites for the time-trial during the opening stage in Frauenfeld. Both riders stood up to the occasion and claimed the top spots of the podium, with a four-second advantage for the oldest rider. Two days later the younger Stefan won a stage in Gstaad, completing the Swiss festivities during the first half of the Tour de Suisse. Riders from the high-tier World Tour level would move forward during the second half of the Tour de Suisse. The final day of the 84th Tour de Suisse came down to a Latin American duel between leader Richard Carapaz (ECU) and the surprising winner of the Oberalp time-trial, Rigoberto Uran (COL). After a cascade of route change, the Tremola served as the final battleground after covering 1030.5 kilometres and 16.247 metres of elevation gain.
What resulted into a cycling festival of nine days between Frauenfeld and Andermatt with limitations for the fans requiring massive amounts of work behind the scenes. Oliver Senn: “Our young organisation was constantly tested since last autumn. We were challenged on every possible front, not only the financial challenge to keep our balances positive in this young organisation. There were extensive communications needed with both sports- traffic- and health authorities of the fourteen cantons involved and with the federal government. There were also the required route changes due to the road closures in the Alps. Every solution which fitted one area required compatibility tests in other areas. Thanks to the experienced divisional teams, longstanding relationships in many cantons and loyal partners this endeavor succeeded.”
Sportive director David Loosli already glanced forward to the 85th edition of the Tour de Suisse: “Work is already in full swing. We can already reveal one thing: we will keep the tried and tested concept with one hub for each start and finish weekend. Obviously, the Tour de Suisse will continue to demand everything from the riders next year.”
However, cycling fans will not have to wait until June 2022: in November there’s already the second edition of the virtual stage race experience – Digital Swiss 5.
Ueli Anken, TdS media service, [email protected] , +41 79 638 18 18