Tour de Suisse 2019

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The Tour de Suisse, together with the Criterium du Dauphine, is the last critical test before the Tour de France - on one hand, a tune-up for the general classification contenders - on the other, a fight for selection to a rider's squad for the Grand Tour.

For Team Ineos, the Tour de Suisse will be an important form check for defending Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas, who has not raced since coming third in the Tour de Romandie, and for his teammate Egan Bernal, who fractured his collarbone after the Volta a Catalunya.

It will also be a critical juncture for Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) who is coming back after iliac artery surgery.

Deceuninck-Quickstep will turn its focus from one-day victories and stage wins to supporting Enric Mas' GC ambitions while keeping sprinter Elia Viviani in the pocket for the sprint stages.d

For teams like EF Education First, Movistar and Mitchelton-Scott, who come to the race without a major GC contender, the focus will be on stage results and showing form to the team directors who will select the teams for the Tour.

Other squads will look for stage victories on the flat stages with Bora-Hansgrohe supporting Peter Sagan, Sunweb with Michael Matthews, and CCC Team with Greg van Avermaet.

The 9.5km opening time trial is one for a rider like Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), while the lumpy second stage is designed for a powerful sprinter like Sagan or Van Avermaet. The third stage is one for the pure sprinters before another lumpy finale to stage 4.

Stage 5 is another challenge for the sprinters, with a long, shallow climb to the plateau leading to Einsiedeln.

The first summit finish comes on stage 6 to Flumserberg, followed by the hors categorie finish on stage 7 to St. Gotthard.

A pancake flat 19.2km time trial in Goms follows before the triple-mountain stage that goes over the Grimselpass with 20mk to go - the final test for the overall contenders.

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