The Omega Pharma-QuickStep team today announced its roster for the Tour de Suisse, with the nine-day stage race, June 8-16, the final WorldTour event prior to the Tour de France. The Belgian WorldTour squad will be led by general classification hopeful Peter Velits who's entering the race following a solid bloc of training. This will be the fourth Tour de Suisse start of the 28-year-old Slovakian's career with his best result a 12th place overall finish in 2009.
"In the last four weeks I trained a lot to be ready for the upcoming races," said Velits, the reigning Slovakian time trial champion. "However, I didn't race since Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt, so I don't know my condition in comparison to my competitors.
"I like the course of this Tour de Suisse and think it suits me if I have a good feeling. The stage on Sunday with the uphill final at Crans-Montana will be immediately important. Then, every day the race will be taxing, and in the last days of the race we will have again the high mountains. I know these mountains from a training camp I did in this area in the past, but my race rhythm will be decisive for my performance. I am ready to fight with a strong team around me, and we will see day-by-day."
The 1,3014km stage race kicks off on Saturday, June 8, with an 8.1km prologue time trial with chances for the climbers coming on stage 2 (Quinto to Cras-Montana, 161.3km), stage 7 (Zernez to Bad Ragaz 180.5km) and the concluding 26.8km individual time trial on Sunday, June 16 featuring an ascent to the finish. There are also multiple medium mountain stages, and a sprint finale is most likely for stage 4 (Buochs to Leuggern, 176.4km).
"The race will be hard from the beginning," said Sport Director Wilfried Peeters. "After the prologue in fact we will have immediately an uphill finish in Crans-Montana. Then every day the parcours will present a few climbs. The last time trial will be very challenging, with a mountain time trial including a steep final 10 kilometers.
"For the GC, we can count on Peter Velits, but we will see also day-by-day how to move the team in function of the parcours. The guys are in good shape and we will do our best for a good result."
Omega Pharma-QuickStep foster for Tour de Suisse:
Tom Boonen (Bel), Kevin De Weert (Bel), Bert Grabsch (Ger), Serge Pauwels (Bel), Niki Terpstra (Ned), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel), Kristof Vandewalle (Bel), Peter Velits (Svk)