Underneath text was writte prior to the start of the Tour de Suisse and hasn’t been updated.]
The 2016 Tour de Suisse is a mountainous endeavour with hardly any flat roads. So in order to win you have to be a good climber, that’s one thing, and besides you have to be able to stand the pressure of time in a chrono race. Except for a short opening time trial, the race features hilly time trial on the penultimate day. Which is good news for the likes of Geraint Thomas, Tejay van Garderen and Wilco Kelderman.
From stage 5 onwards the GC will be shaken up as we will be penetrating mountain goats territory. Stages 5. 6 and 7 are all mountain stages with the last one, the Queen Stage to the Rettechbachferner, a glacier high up in the mountains above Sölden, the apotheosis. The closing climg is a 11.4 kilometres toil at 10.8%. Then comes the previously mentioned hilly ITT (at 16.8 kilometres) before the 9-day race is to be concluded with a mountainous stage that ends with a long descent. All in all, a versatile race that should bring a versatile winner.
Contenders who know what’s it like to win the Tour de Suisse are Fabian Cancellara (2009), Fränk Schleck (2010), Rui Costa (2012, 2013, 2014) and Simon Spilak (2015), while Geraint Thomas is the only rider at the start who did win a multiple stage race this season. Last March he took Paris-Nice after a brilliant battle with Alberto Contador.
Favourites Tour de Suisse 2016:
*** Geraint Thomas, Rui Costa, Wilco Kelderman, Tejay van Garderen
** Robert Gesink, Warren Barguil, Gorka Izagirre
* Andrew Talansky, Mathias Frank, Samuel Sánchez, Ion Izagirre