This weekend marks the start of the 74th Tour of Switzerland, with the Tour de Suisse being seen by many riders as a warm up to the Tour de France which starts two weeks later.

A brief lack of internet service here at work meant we had to think of Switzerland facts between us. The results:

  • Skiing
  • Chocolate, particularly Toblerone
  • Cuckoo clocks
  • Cheese
  • Bankers

You’ll be glad to see we’re reconnected with the world (very welcome after an afternoon of pen and paper) and have some useful facts:

Switzerland is of course home to the mighty Fabian Cancellara.

The National and defending champion is back this year strong as ever, though has claimed he’s not there for the overall win. So popular we can’t keep stock of his National Champ jersey! After all this ‘doped bike’ news we can’t wait to see him smash his rivals at his home Tour.

Switzerland is also home to Suplest whose shoes we currently stock and rate highly at PBK. 3 staff riders are currently wearing in a pair of the Street Racing shoes and all reports so far have been of a very comfy shoe, easily on par with their Sidi rivals.

Suplest’s objective was to develop cycling shoes, which leave traces. The makers of Suplest are two passionate cyclists, who know the needs and wishes of the cycling community and they definitely know what is needed in order to create outstanding cycling shoes. The bear is part of their logo, he embodies strength, will, power and endurance. At the same time the bear links to their roots – the Canton Berne in Switzerland.

A 1350km course awaits the riders over a week, the 9 stages take in some of Switzerland’s most beautiful and scenic countryside with some mountains thrown in for good measure.

The 1st stage is a prologue around Lugano – an affluent lakeside town bordering Italy. The riders are then led around Switzerland in a reverse S-shape, making their way up to the north of Switzerland and a final stage in Liestal.

In between are numerous mountains and the stage which we’ll be watching keenly is stage 6 from Meiringen to La Punt:

The profile would be enough to put most people off, 3 climbs with over 4700 metres of climbing will make this a tough day in the saddle.

In terms of riders and who to watch, we have of course Lance Armstrong who was accused by Landis of doping here in a previous edition. Given that Lance wasn’t racing the event we’ll take that with a pinch of salt. Lance won the race in 2001 and has been training hard since California and has a strong team to help him around in 2010.

As mentioned earlier there is Cancellara and also Popovych riding who has had a quiet season so far and needs to impress.

Finishing 2 weeks prior to the Grand Depart of the Tour de France, this Tour of Suisse will be a proving ground for many of the favourites. The route is challenging and there will be a lot of ‘lesser known’ riders hoping to stick it to the big guns and show their team principal just how good they are.



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