The last doubts vanished yesterday in the Appenzellerland: the audience stood in colorful rows at the roadside to welcome the women’s Tour de Suisse along the 124.2 kilometers from Vaduz via Gais to Chur. The cycling festival of the men’s tour continued seamlessly with the women’s race. The organization is now planning a consolidation over several years. Interim report with the tour management.
In terms of sport, everything is open before the start of the fourth stage of the Tour de Suisse Women. Sports Director David Loosli said on the morning of the queen stage on the way up to Lenzerheide: “So far we have seen a fantastic competition between the best female riders. The fact that the reigning world champion won the third mountain stage in Chur yesterday in a photo finish after a spectacular final stage speaks for the quality of the race.” Previously, the circuit race that started on Saturday evening and the individual time trial on Sunday in Vaduz had already generated consistently positive reactions. For example, the absent time trial world champion Ellen van Dijk (NL) wrote on Twitter: “Great job @tds”; the time trial of the TdS was one of the very rare ones in the calendar and she was very sorry that she could not be there. “Keep up the great work!” After two teams left yesterday following positive covid tests, around 80 riders will still take to the start line this afternoon to tackle the 98.5 kilometres and 2293 metres of altitude difference from Chur via Prättigau and the Wolfgangspass to Lantsch/Lenz at 1493 metres above sea level. On Sunday, 18 teams were at the start in Vaduz, including most of the top teams of the Women’s World Tour, with riders from 23 nations from all continents.
First goal achieved: UCI Women’s World Tour from 2023
Next year, the Tour de Suisse will celebrate its 90th anniversary. Since the national tour had to be cancelled in some years due to war or pandemic, the 86th edition of the men’s race will take place on the occasion of this anniversary – and only the third of the women’s tour. So the National Tour is maturing in terms of gender. The new management of the Tour has paved the way for this development in the last two years. Tour director Olivier Senn: “It was clear to us from the beginning that we also wanted to establish the Tour de Suisse in the women’s WorldTour calendar. After the total cancellation in 2020, we had the opportunity in 2021 to test a women’s race in a short format with two stages for the first time under the difficult conditions of the pandemic. This gave us our first valuable experience, which we are now using to organise a Tour with four stages.” Last week, the International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed that the Tour de Suisse Women will move up from the second racing league to the World Tour next year. “The fact that we have achieved this goal in two years from a standing start fills us with pride,” said Olivier Senn the morning before the queen stage from Chur to Lenzerheide.
Consolidation as a race route for women and men
Now the task is to create a sustainable overall structure for the women’s and men’s tour: “Last year we ran the women’s race completely according to the structure of the men’s race. This year we went a step further and after the weekend in the Vaduz junction, we set aside two days just for the women’s stages.” This attempt was associated with many risks, as the Tour director explains: “We had no benchmarks and thus no idea how the public, the media and the sponsors would receive the idea of a Tour de Suisse for women.” The observations and experiences yesterday along the route through the Appenzellerland, the participation of television stations in dozens of countries and the first feedback from our partners have dispelled any last doubts. “It is right and important that we have finally realised the women’s tour. Now we have to consolidate the race in the next few years and gear our entire organisation towards realising a Tour de Suisse for women and men. We are preparing for a long learning journey with our helpers, the teams, the federation authorities, the stage towns and everyone else involved. Now we are ready for it,” said Olivier Senn in his interim assessment after the second Tour de Suisse Women.
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Tour de Suisse Media Service: Ueli Anken | +41 79 638 18 18 | [email protected]