By Shane Stokes in Luzern
With CSC's Fabian Cancellara leading the Tour de Suisse, the fans have a hometown hero to cheer for, but there are no fewer than sixteen other Swiss riders in the race. Martin Elminger (AG2r) is one, and is motivated to perform well on home soil. He was best of the team in the prologue, finishing a fine seventh on the stage, and said on Sunday morning that he was hoping to find success during the nine-day event.
"I hope to win a stage," he stated. "I am not here for the general, but this is good training for the Tour de France. I am confirmed for the team for that already so I have no stress.
"The prologue was good. I didn't think I could be in the first ten but the legs were good. I hope today they are even better! I plan to ride hard on this stage as I would like to do well. Tomorrow [Monday] it is a lot harder but if the legs are good, I will also be there in the front."
Elmiger placed 23rd in the bunch sprint to the line. Stage three will provide an opportunity to attack, so he should be one of the protagonists if the legs are good.
Strauss plans to be aggressive
Another rider looking to perform well in Switzerland in order to gain selection for the Tour de France is Gerolsteiner's Marcel Strauss. He was 112th in the prologue but felt that the race against the clock didn't suit him very well.
"It has technical parts with some tough corners. It is hard to keep your speed there. I am probably too careful for this kind of race, there are other specialists who don't have this problem! It is too short for me, too.
"It is difficult to say what I can achieve here. It is a very hard Tour de Suisse, going over long and high mountains, and normally I am not so good there. It will be a hard tour but my form is very good and hopefully I can get one or two good placings on stages."
Strauss is a past silver medallist in the Swiss road race championships and would be delighted to perform well on home soil this week. But he has an additional motivation to ride strongly. "I am not sure about the Tour. There are other riders who want to go too so we will see after the Tour de Suisse. If I ride well here it will help."