Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) will return to the Tour de Suisse this week with an aim at continuing his points classification winning streak. The world champion has 11 Tour de Suisse stage wins on his palmares, and has won the black points jersey five years in a row. He will be looking add to his recent success in the Tour of California, where he brought his record tally of stage wins to 15.
"Past experience has shown that Peter goes better in Switzerland than in California, so we hope that this build of form will continue here,” Tinkoff directeur sportif Patxi Vila said. “It will be his last race before the Tour de France so it will be a good one for him to test his legs again."
Sagan will look to stages 2, 3 and 4 for bunch sprint victories, while Tinkoff will rely on outsiders for the overall classification.
Jay McCarthy, fourth in the Tour Down Under, and Ivan Rovny are the likely contenders for the GC, but Vila said the focus will be stage wins.
"Jay and Rovny come here from the Giro and we will see what they can do overall but it will be a really tough race, and a bit of a shot in the dark for the GC – we will see how they feel day by day. On the other side, we have a strong team to fight for stage wins with Peter. Then we have Boaro and Bodnar for the time trials. On the other days we will look to fight for the breakaways and go for results from here."
The Tour de Suisse begins on Saturday with a 6.4km opening time trial in Baar, followed by three sprint-friendly stages before the climbers get their chance to shine. Stage 5 takes riders over the Furkapass and Gotthardpass, both over 2000m in elevation, with an uphill finish to Cari. Stage 6 heads over the Klausenpass and has another summit finish in Amden, but it's stage 7 that will be the true test - a 13km climb that averages over 10%.
Stage 8 is a 16.8km individual time trial in Davos. Even the final stage will be difficult for the sprinters - at just 117.7km, the stage heads over the Albulapass and the Flüelapass over 2300m before descending to the finish in Davos.
Tinkoff for the Tour de Suisse: Peter Sagan, Manuele Boaro, Jay McCarthy, Evgeny Petrov, Ivan Rovny, Maceij Bodnar, Oscar Gatto, and Juraj Sagan.