By Shane Stokes in Bern
The organisers of the Tour de Suisse have said that they were ‘very satisfied’ with the 70th edition of the race, which ended in Bern on Sunday. "This was a very good race," director general Christian Pirzer told the press prior to the start of the final stage time trial. "There was lots of suspense and a very good ending, with things going right down to the final time trial. Everybody is saying that Jan Ullrich will win the race but we don’t know that for sure, so this keeps things very interesting.
"We are very happy with the level of support we have seen. The interest from the crowds has been huge and so too from the media. We are very pleased and so too are our sponsors, who have a long-term commitment to the event."
Sport director Armin Meier, himself a former professional cyclist, echoed that satisfaction and also revealed details of next year’s route. "We have a very interesting route in store for 2007, with four to five stages for the sprinters, three mountain finishes and a time trial," Meier stated, adding that two towns have yet to officially confirm their hosting of the race but that the contracts were signed. "Everything is agreed, but we have to respect their decision to hold off for now on announcing their participation," he said.
The 2007 edition will begin near Zürich in Olten, the first stage expected to be something along the lines of this year’s opening leg in Baden. Day two takes the riders to Luzern, while the third stage will be held in the Tirol region and is expected to have a summit finish. Ditto for stage four to Malbun. Day five heads to Giubiasco in Tessin, with the French speaking part of the country the setting for stage six.
Another summit finish is included in the following day’s race to Grimselpass, then the race heads to Schwarzsee (literally, black lake) in Fribourg. As was the case this year, the race will conclude with a time trial in Bern.
"We have tried to eliminate long transfers as much as possible," said Pirzer. "Most of the locations chosen will be the venue for both finishes and starts, so that should help the riders."
More details of the 2007 Tour de Suisse will be announced in the months ahead. The race will run from June 16-24 next year, taking place one week later in order to maintain the same gap between it and the Tour de France.