Friday, June 7, 2013



June 8 to 16, 2013

The 2013 Tour de Suisse race route
The 77th edition of the Tour de Suisse begins this Saturday, June 8, and runs until June 16th. It is for many riders the last stage race for pre Tour De France tune-ups. While many TDF favorites have been using the Critérium du Dauphiné to test their racing legs against the competition before the Tour, several others will do their fine-tuning in Switzerland (The Tour De France starts on Saturday June 29).

Twenty-one teams of eight riders each will take the start for the Prologue time trial in Quinto, instead of the town of Lugano, where it has started for the last three years. The entire race will cover 1309 kilometers over nine stages, across the beautiful Swiss countryside. It will feature one prologue time trial, one half-flat, half-climbing time trial, one mountaintop finish, two stages with big climbs close to the finish and a few stages for the sprinters and breakaway specialists. 

Of the 2012 podium, only the winner, Rui Costa is able to return
Last year’s winner, Rui Costa of team Movistar, will be back to try and defend his title against a strong field of contenders. None of the others from last year’s top five finishers are returning, but several strong GC contenders will certainly vie for this year’s title.

Several of the sport’s top sprinters will also be trying to prevent Team Cannondale’s Slovakian wunderkind, Peter Sagan from dominating the sprints like he did lat year. In 2012 Sagan won the opening time trial and then went on to win three more stages and the points jersey.

Here is a list of who I believe are this year’s favorites for the General Classification:

Rui Costa (Movistar)
Simon Spilak (Katusha)
Dan Martin (Garmin)
Tejay Van Garderen (BMC)
Bauke Mollema (Blanco)
Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
Diego Ulissi (Lampre)

Other climbers and all-rounders in with a GC chance or a stage win:

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin), Michele Scarponi (Lampre), Peter Stetina, Rohan Dennis (Garmin), Janez Brajkovic (Astana), Damiano Caruso and Ivan Basso (Cannondale), Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2R), Johann Tschopp (IAM), Tomasz Marczynski (Vacansoleil), Cameron Meyer and Michael Albasini (OGE), Peter Velits (OPQ), Andreas Klöden, Fabian Cancellara and Maxim Monfort (Radioshack), just to name a few, of course...

Peter Sagan is the man to beat in the sprints
The sprinters’ field is deep and will also be very competitive. Besides Peter Sagan there will be Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Arnaud Demare (FDJ), John Degenkolb (Argos Shimano), Matt Goss (OGE), Roberto Ferrari (Lampre), Tyler Farrar (Garmin), Mark Renshaw (Blanco), Bernard Eisel and Ben Swift (Sky), JJ Rojas (Movistar), Daniele Bennati (Saxo), Heinrich Haussler (IAM), and Tom Boonen (OPQ), who posted some good results at the Tour of Belgium a couple weeks ago. Boonen is recently back from a six-week racing hiatus after crashing out of the Tour of Flanders, and will be looking to make up for lost time. Cancellara has also just recently returned to racing after a similar absence since winning the Tour of Flanders, Paris Roubaix and the E3 Harelbeke earlier this spring.

The teams:

Ag2r La Mondiale (France)
Argos-Shimano (Netherlands)
Astana (Kazakhstan)
Blanco (Netherlands)
Cannondale (Italy)
Euskaltel-Euskadi (Spain)
FDJ (France)
Garmin-Sharp (USA)
IAM Cycling (Switzerland)
Katusha (Russia)
Lampre-Merida (Italy)
Lotto Belisol (Belgium)
Movistar (Spain)
Omega Pharma-QuickStep (Belgium)
Orica-GreenEdge (Australia)
RadioShack-Leopard (Luxembourg)
Saxo-Tinkoff (Denmark)
Sky (Great Britain)
Sojasun (France)
Vacansoleil-DCM (Netherlands)


beIN sports TV will be broadcasting the race in the U.S. if you are fortunate enough to be able to fork over even more money to your cable provider, as it only comes as a separate tier package for an additional price. I don’t think they will be broadcasting live though (please let me know if I'm wrong). I just hope they won’t air the stages as late as NBC Sports did with the Criterium du Dauphiné, where some stage broadcasts ended after the next stage had already begun! That’s pretty useless to most folks. beIN TV’s recent first-time broadcast of the Giro d’Italia looked great in HD, but showed some kinks they are still working out.
Eurosport, SBS, and SKY sports are some of the other international broadcasters of the event. You can always check for more viewing and streaming options.

Here is a look at the stages and profiles for the 2013 Tour de Suisse:

Stage 1, Saturday June 8, Quinto to Quinto, 8.1km ITT
Stage 2, Sunday June 9, Quinto to Crans-Montana, 161km MTF (mountaintop finish)
Stage 3, Monday June 10, Montreux to Meiringen, 203km
Stage 4, Tuesday June 11, Innertkirchen to Buochs, 161km
Stage 5, Wednesday June 12, Buochs to Leuggern, 176km
Stage 6, Thursday June 13, Leuggern to Meilen, 186km
Stage 7*, Friday June 14, Meilen to La Punt, 206km, *Queen Stage
Stage 8, Saturday June 15, Zernez to Bad Ragaz, 181km
Stage 9, Sunday June 16, Bad Ragaz to Flumserberg, 26.8km ITT

STAGE 1 – 8.1km ITT

Prologue ITT Profile; only small time splits are expected

STAGE 2 - 161km MTF
Stage 2 is the only true MTF of the race, and crosses the race's high point early on

STAGE 3 - 203km, medium mountains
Stage 3's late climb should thin the field of contenders; good descenders should prevail

STAGE 4 – 174km, rolling

Stage 4 profile; the sprinters should be able to control this one

STAGE 5 – 176KM, rolling

Stage 5 profile looks like a Classics stage, with little opportunities for breakaways

STAGE 6 – 186km, rolling
Stage 6 profile shows ample opportunity for a successful breakaway

STAGE 7 – 206km, high mountains
The queen stage profile; over 200k and the penultimate chance to gain precious time

STAGE 8 – 181km, rolling

The bump at the end of stage 8 could host a late attack, but sprinters will be hungry

STAGE 9 – 26.8km ITT
The final stage TT could end up being the decisive stage

My picks for the overall win:
The entire course suits riders like Rui Costa, Bauke Mollema, Dan Martin, Simon Spilak, Tejay Van Garderen and Thibaut Pinot. I will go with the American, Tejay Van Garderen, coming off his recent win at the Tour of California. Tejay will likely be Cadel Evans' lieutenant in the TDF mountains, so this could be a good opportunity to log more of his own impressive results.

I will try to post stage-by-stage analyses and reports, but I have a lot going on right now, so I will do my best.

Coming soon I will post a thorough preview of the 2013 Tour de France. 

Enjoy the racing!

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