Backstage – 2017 will be his 38th Tour de Suisse. The long-time race director Sepp Wehrli contested six editions as a racing driver.
17th in the 1980 overall classification should remain his best result. Because he was never allowed to ride Sepp Wehrli on the Tour de Suisse on his own account. Beat Breu and Sepp Fuchs were the team leaders of his former team Cilo/Aufina. Sepp Wehrli was assigned to helper services. “Especially in the mountains, I always kept Beat Breu on course. Which paid off in 1981. Beat Breu became overall winner of the Tour de Suisse, Sepp Fuchs second. “An absolute highlight for our team back then.”
After his retirement from professional cycling, Sepp Wehrli joined the police force in the canton of Schwyz. As chance would have it, on the name day of all Josefs – the so-called “Seppi Day” – he met the then tour director Sepp Voegeli at an event on the Rigi. “He got me excited about a job with the tour organization.” Since 1986 Sepp Wehrli has been an official, for 26 years as race director. Seven of its 19 team members have been with the company for over 10 years. But the most faithful companion is his brother Beni. He has been a responsible starter in time trials for 25 years.
Sepp Wehrli sits in the race director’s car during the stage. He is where all the racing threads come together. Once at the finish line, he immediately switches to the finish house and monitors the correct determination of the class cements. “Especially the bonuses and possible penalties are important.” The 63-year-old man from Central Switzerland always radiates calm and serenity. Part of it is certainly given to him by nature, but the rest is based on many years of experience. For exactly thirty years now, he has played similar roles in other Swiss races as an official and race commissioner of the umbrella organisation Swiss Cycling.
His most impressive experience as race director so far was the completely closed roads in Germany when the Tour de Suisse 2001 started from the stage start in the Europapark Rust and headed towards Switzerland. “That deserves recognition. Because as a policeman, I know what a huge effort has been made to get it.” Race director Wehrli also found the first stage arrival at the foot of the Rettenbach glacier above Sölden outstanding. “Suddenly you find yourself in the midst of a fascinating world of mountains and glaciers,” recalls Wehrli. “In addition, the reception of the local organisers in the warm media centre was very warm. The presence of several ski stars was an additional highlight for me”.