After the Dauphiné came the Tour of Switzerland, the second one-week stage race where the Tour de France competitors hone their form. This year’s race was something a little different. With no strong leader from the best stage race team, Team Sky, the field was open. Bad weather, hard roads and long days kept us all entertained, with the overall winner not being decided until the final stage. Here is our take on the winners and losers from the recently finished Tour of Switzerland.
As it is always better to start with the bad news, let’s look at those who had a less than perfect time in Switzerland.
Crash victims: At the start of the Tour of Switzerland we were busy talking about the stacked field. Hesjedal, Visconti, Haussler, were names that we thought would light up the race. All three crashed out and had to retire. Hesjedal on his comeback after the Giro and Visconti were not too serious, but their injuries were enough to see them pull out of the race, potentially affecting their up-coming schedule. Neither had broken bones. Haussler came off much worse. Crashing just 10 kilometres into Thursday’s stage he fractured his pelvis, a serious injury that will see the Aussie rider out until October.
Team Sky: After their planned leader for the Tour of Switzerland, Wiggins, was ruled out of the race due to a knee injury sustained at the Giro, this British super-team had somewhat of a quiet race. With their A-Team being sent to the Dauphiné a week earlier, the Team Sky seen at the Tour of Switzerland proves that they are not able to win every stage race they enter. On a positive note the race gave their younger riders a chance to shine and ride for themselves.
Peter Sagan: showed that he is improving in condition and could be a real threat to Cavendish when they battle for the Tour de France’s Green Sprinter’s Jersey. Winning two stages and coming second in another, this young, strong rider showed his class proving that his is more than a one dimensional classics rider. We look forward to some more interesting victory salutes in the weeks to come.
Team BMC: The Tour de Suisse, home of the team’s principle sponsor, proved that this team has real strength in depth. Being well positioned every day they rode a consistent race for their leader, Teejay Van Garderen. It even saw Matihas Frank hold on to the leader’s jersey until the final time trial. After the critics commented that this team is potentially too big and making its riders too comfortable, the past week’s racing in Switzerland has firmly proven otherwise!
Costa: Riding in a style usually seen by the Team Sky riders in their black with blue stripe, Rui Costa pulled off a perfect race. Winning one stage and then waiting until the final stage, the uphill time-trial, to take control of the race. Emulating his win at the race 12 months earlier, Costa’s stunning time-trial performance could not be matched by the race leader at the start of the stage, seeing him drop to 5th overall. Of note, Amstel Gold winner Kreuziger, Liege winner Martin and Van Garderen were all inside the top 10, maybe not showing 100% form, but clearly making it known that their build-up for the Tour de France is right on track.
Author: Phil Gale