Peter Sagan will lead a mixed Bora-Hansgrohe team at the Tour de Suisse, with the world champion using the nine days of racing as final preparation for the Tour de France where he will attempt to win the green points jersey for a sixth time.
The Tour de Suisse begins in Cham with a six-kilometre time trial, with Sagan one of the contenders for the first leader's jersey of the race. He has won 13 stages at the Tour de Suisse since his debut at the race in 2010 and is likely to have opportunities for further stage victories in possible sprint finishes in Bern (stage 4), Cevio (stage 5) and on stage 8 in Schaffhausen next Saturday when the riders face eight laps of a 12.5km circuit.
Sagan will have the support of his brother Juraj, Jan Barta, Maciej Bodnar, Marcus Burghardt, Patrick Konrad, Michael Kolar and Australia's Jay McCarthy.
Also in action at the Tour de Suisse are Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet (BMC), Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) – who could challenge Sagan for the green jersey in July, Taylor Phinney (Cannondale-Drapac), Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) and Giro d'Italia winner Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb).
"I will go to Switzerland in order to race the best way I can and give it my all. I will take the results as they come, knowing I did my best," Sagan said in a pre-race interview published by the race organisers.
"If I manage to add more wins to my record, then it would be a nice reward to my effort but that isn't my main objective. I'm happy when I cross the finish line if I know that I couldn't have raced better, no matter what result I achieve."
Suffering in the Swiss mountains
Sagan has always opted to ride the Tour de Suisse as key preparation for the Tour de France. Following the spring Classics, he again rode the Tour of California in May and then spent time at altitude in Park City, Utah before returning to Europe.
The Tour de Suisse includes some tough mountain stages but Sagan feels these help him prepare for the daily fight for points in the Tour de France. He recalled winning four stages in 2012.
"The Tour de Suisse is a race that I like a lot, so every participation is special for me," Sagan said. "If I had to choose one, it will certainly be 2012, not only because of the four stages I won but also because it was a very nice week of racing.
"I have a special memory of all mountain passages in Switzerland because none are easy."
"There isn't a special way to tackle those mountains, whether it is in Switzerland or somewhere else. It all depends on my form and my legs. If my legs aren't strong, all mountains are awful. If my form is good and I feel my legs are strong, then it's still tough but a little bit easier."
Cyclingnews will have full live coverage, race reports, news and photo galleries from every stage of the Tour de Suisse.