The Tour de Suisse 2017 will visit each linguistic region of Switzerland
With two brief forays into Italy and Austria, as well as stage visits to each linguistic region of Switzerland, the organiser InfrontRingier has provided a well-balanced course for 2017. The sporting director David Loosli has arranged nine stages with room for surprises. ‘The route has been designed in such a way that it will become clear only as the race progresses if the sprinters can hold the course.’ High mountain passes will again offer spectacular scenery this year, and the organiser sets out for more excitement during the circuit stages on the start and finish weekends. ‘Thanks to the frequent crossings of the finish line, we expect a fast pace and some fantastic fights,’ says Loosli. ‘It will make it even more interesting for the public to watch, both at the venue and on TV.’
The Tour de Suisse issues four wild cards
As usual, 2017 will see the 18 teams from the highest level of the WorldTour on the start line in Cham. The Tour organisers have again given out an additional four wild cards this year. Like last year, Team Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij (RNL) will be competing, as will CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice (CCC) from Poland. The French team Direct Energie (DEN) and the new Irish team Aqua Blue Sport (ABS) will both be taking part for the first time.
New prize “fou pédalant”
The Tour organisers are awarding a prize in honour of Ferdy Kübler, who died at the end of December 2016 at the age of 97. “Ferdy National” not only won the Tour de Suisse three times, he was also well known for his wild breakaways, which earned him the nickname “fou pédalant”.
The rider who covers the most kilometres in a breakaway throughout the nine stages will be honoured with the “fou pédalant” prize at the end of the Tour de Suisse. This is an ongoing ranking throughout the whole Tour de Suisse. Every day, the current “fou pédalant” will begin with a specific start number.
Get your TdS armband and support young cyclists
Professional Swiss riders make the Tour de Suisse more appealing. This is part of the reason why InfrontRingier is helping to support the upcoming generation of cyclists and now offers a special TdS armband. TdS general director Olivier Senn: ‘The TdS armband gives us the opportunity to combine the professional sport with the important work of youth development.’
The armband costs CHF 5, of which up to CHF 2 will go towards supporting young cyclists. The remainder will help to further develop the organisation of the Tour de Suisse. The TdS armband is available in a limited, numbered edition. Those who register the number of their armband online can win some attractive prizes. Get more info here. The armbands are available in Swiss Cycling’s online shop, at local cycling clubs, at the stage locations and in selected cycling shops.
Amateurs compete with the professionals
For the third time, amateur cyclists can compete with the professionals during three stages. Following the ‘Cornèrcard Cancellara Challenge’, a time trial open to everyone on Saturday, 10 June, the ‘Morgarten Memorial’ takes place on Sunday, 11 June. This is a loop of the original route of the second stage. Amateurs can finish with the ‘Cornèrcard City Circle’ in Schaffhausen on 18 June. You can register here for individual stages or for the whole TdS Challenge.
TdS Village – Bike Expo – Kids World
The opening and closing weekends will again offer plenty of attractions. The Kids World not only has its mascot ‘Tourli’ for entertainment, it also offers a number of activities such as an agility course and a pump track. Various exhibitors will present their latest products at the Bike Expo and in the TdS village. And last but not least, the festival area and show truck will offer entertainment throughout.
Race and course
Friday, 9 June 2017: Team Presentation
The organisers are looking forward to holding this terrific festival in the Zug region for the third consecutive year. In Cham, the 18 teams of the UCI World Tour, as well as those four teams with a wild card, will be presented to the public in a show streamed live online. Local clubs and organisations will offer food and beverages.
Saturday, 10 June 2017: 1st Stage: Prologue Time Trial, Cham (ZG) (6.0 km, 45 m altitude)
The prologue time trial at Hub Zug in Cham has become a cherished tradition. The course is flat and fast. ‘A high pace is guaranteed,’ says Loosli. However, which explosive time trial specialist will be able to assert himself the year after Fabian Cancellara?
Sunday, 11 June 2017: 2nd Stage: Cham – Cham Circuit (172.2 km, 2,412 m altitude)
True to the motto ‘go west’, the second stage leads from Cham over the western cantonal border into the cantons of Aargau and Lucerne, where the highest point of the stage is reached at Horben. The track will loop four times over the Aargau viewpoint. Loosli says: ‘It is possible that some sprinters might fall behind and miss out on the big finale in Cham.’
Monday, 12 June 2017: 3rd Stage: Menziken (AG) – Bern (159.3 km, 1,635 m altitude)
The third stage of the 81st Tour de Suisse begins in the canton of Aargau. After an opening lap around Menziken, the riders will again cycle through the town and then head in the direction of the Emmental. This is the perfect stage for an ambitious breakaway group, although they may be caught as the race reaches Bern. ‘It is all set up for a spectacular sprint finish on Bern’s Papiermühlestrasse,’ says Loosli.
Tuesday, 13 June 2017: 4th Stage: Bern – Villars-sur-Ollon (VD) (143.2 km, 2,736 m altitude)
It all gets going in western Switzerland. The fourth stage will begin at Münsterplatz in Bern and after a loop through the old town will head further west: ‘It will move into the mountains for the first time.’ The peloton will ride past Fribourg; then the riders will encounter their first real challenge at the Col des Mosses, before heading into Chablais. The final 11 km climb to Villars-sur-Ollon will suit a proven climber.
Wednesday, 14 June 2017: 5th Stage: Bex (VD) – Cevio (TI) (222 km, 2,570 m altitude)
At this stage, the Tour de Suisse detours into Italy. From Bex, the riders will turn off in Brig towards the Simplon pass, which has an elevation of 2,005 m and lies within Switzerland. After crossing the Italian border, the fifth stage will travel over Italian soil back to Switzerland, passing through Centovalli to Avegno. There, the route turns into the Maggia valley before finishing in Cevio. Despite the climb up to the Simplon pass, there is no ruling out the possibility of a sprint finish.
Thursday, 15 June 2017: 6th Stage: Locarno (TI) – La Punt (GR) (166.7 km, 3,950 m altitude)
This year’s queen stage begins in the canton of Ticino and ends in the Romansch-speaking Engadine. The start line is in the middle of Locarno’s Piazza Grande, where the renowned film festival is held in August. Anyone who wants to play the starring role in this stage must first traverse the San Bernardino pass and then hold out on the climb to the Albula pass. ‘The rapid descent from Albula really demands something extra from the riders,’ says Loosli. ‘The stage winner will be able to relax only when crossing the finish line in La Punt.’
Friday, 16 June 2017: 7th Stage: Zernez (GR) – Sölden (A) (166.3 km, 2,680 m altitude)
At 2,780 m, the seventh stage will reach the highest point of the 81st Tour de Suisse. After starting in Zernez, the route travels through the Lower Engadine before crossing the Austrian border at Martina and via Landeck to the entrance of the Ötztal. After passing through Sölden, the route once again travels along the steep 13 km Gletscherstrasse. Due to construction works at the Rettenbach glacier, the seventh stage will end 2.8 km further and with an additional 110 metres of altitude at the foot of the Tiefenbach glacier. ‘There is a final treat in store for the best climbers of the Tour de Suisse,’ Loosli promises. ‘In the very last section, there is a 1.7 km-long tunnel.’
Saturday, 17 June 2017: 8th Stage: Schaffhausen – Schaffhausen (SH) (100 km, 1,064 m altitude)
This stage will start and finish at the new LIPO park. The 100 km course on a 12.5 km city circuit promises a fast-paced race with plenty of racing dynamics and excitement. This shorter stage, with eight laps, offers plenty of variety for the public in Schaffhausen as well as those watching on TV. ‘This is an opportunity to further develop the Tour de Suisse and increase its popularity, and promote cycling in general,’ says Loosli.
Sunday, 18 June 2017: 9th Stage: Individual Time Trial, Schaffhausen (28.6 km, 398 m altitude)
The contenders will fight for overall victory on almost the same route as in 2011. Every second will count, since time trials can completely upend the overall classification. ‘That is exactly what happened in 2011,’ explains Loosli. ‘The American Levi Leipheimer knocked the Italian Damiano Cunego down to second place in Schaffhausen during the final time trial – by four seconds.’ The stage will start in Schaffhausen’s old town and end at the LIPO Park.
Total: 1'164.30 km and 17'490 m in altitude.
KOM: 16 (5 x HC; 1 x 1. cat.; 2 x 2. cat.; 8 x 3. cat.)
You can find details about the nine stages here.
Tour de Suisse media office: Jolanda van de Graaf (Tel. +41 (0)79 222 07 69, media(at)tds.ch)