World Champion Peter Sagan will headline next month’s Tour de Suisse, alongside three-time winner Rui Costa and home favourite Fabian Cancellara. Organisers also confirmed that Andrew Talansky, Mathias Frank and Roman Kreuziger will line-up for the 80th edition of the race.
Race organiser InfrontRingier recently struck a five-year revenue sharing deal with the 11 teams of the Velon business group, with the self-declared aim of elevating the Swiss stage race to a "truly international sporting event". The 11 teams have agreed to field their top riders in the Tour de Suisse through 2020 for some kind of revenue share. The partnership between Velon and the Tour de Suisse will also see the teams help market the race and "deliver a stronger, more compelling story", using exclusive live and delayed on-board footage from riders' bikes.
Velon have been trying to change the dynamic of the economics of cycling by shifting some of the benefits of race organisation to the teams, but it has been a contentious path and has sparked the ire of Tour de France organiser ASO. The Velon group includes BMC, Cannondale, Lampre-Merida, Lotto-Belisol, Etixx-Quick-Step, Orica-GreenEdge, Giant-Alpecin, LottoNl-Jumbo, Team Sky, Tinkoff and Trek-Segafredo.
Sagan has been a regular at the Tour de Suisse, competing ever season since he turned professional in 2010. His debut was the only year that he failed to take a victory, securing at least one stage in each edition since then. His overall tally now sits at 11 victories, putting him on par with Hugo Koblet and Ferdy Kubler. Last year, Sagan claimed two wins on stages three and six, winning the points classification for the fifth consecutive time.
After a run of three overall victories between 2012 and 2014, Costa skipped the Tour de Suisse last year and instead chose to ride the Criterium du Dauphine as he attempted to target the overall classification at the Tour de France. Following a year’s absence, he returns to the race looking to join Austrian Max Bulla and Italian Pasquale Fornara as the only four-time winners of the event.
In his way will be Cannondale’s Andrew Talansky, who confirmed to Cyclingnews last month that he would be riding the Swiss event. Talansky had been initially down to do the Criterium du Dauphine but has made some changes to his calendar following a crash at Paris-Nice. Swiss rider Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) will also be targeting the overall classification and while he wasn’t named by the organisers, defending champion Simon Spilak is also expected to ride.
Another former winner on the start line will be Cancellara, who claimed his only overall victory in 2009. That victory came after Cancellara’s last appearance at the Giro d’Italia, where he is set to return this week. Cancellara will no doubt be aiming for victory in the prologue and penultimate day time trial, which he missed out on last season. With his retirement coming ever closer, the Tour de Suisse is likely to mark Cancellara’s final racing appearance in Switzerland – national championships notwithstanding.
The Tour de Suisse is set to begin in Baar on Sunday, June 11 and will finish the following Sunday in the ski resort of Davos.