The Tour de Suisse Women will make its long awaited return to the calendar as a two-day event held on June 5 and 6 in Frauenfeld, Switzerland.
The quality field is packed with talent that includes former road World Champions Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) and Marta Bastianelli (Alè BTC Ljubljana), and former mountain bike World Champion Jolanda Neff (Swiss Cycling).
It is not the first Tour de Suisse for women, as there was a five-day event held in 2001 and won by American all-rounder Kim Baldwin. However, organisers said it was time to bring back the race and, although it's just two days this year, they have hinted that they plan to expand the event with more stages in future.
This year's 2.1 ranked women's race will take place on the opening weekend of the men’s eight-day WorldTour Tour de Suisse held from June 6-13.
Who to watch
The official start list has not yet been released but there are four confirmed Women's WorldTeams including Trek-Segafredo, Ale BTC Ljubljana, Canyon-SRAM and FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope.
There are also seven confirmed Continental Teams including Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime Women Cycling, A.R. Monex Women's Pro Cycling Team, Macogep Tornatech Girondins de Bordeaux, Women Cycling Team, Ceratizit-WNT, Valcar-Travel & Service and Parkhotel Valkenburg. Swiss Cycling is also fielding a national team for the two-day event.
Lucinda Brand will lead Trek-Segafredo after a stellar performance that netted her the overall victory at Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour last week. It appears to be a stacked team, too, with the likes of Lizzie Deignan and Ellen Van Dijk, and Italian sprinter Letizia Paternoster.
Canyon-SRAM field Swiss Champion Elise Chabbey, who was a strong contender at the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas with a second place in the opening stage, and she wore the leader's jersey for a day. Chabbey hopes her home race will move up to the Women's WorldTour in future editions.
It is also a home race for time trial specialist Marlen Reusser (Alè BTC Ljubljana). She will likely have the support from her team to go in breakaways, while they also have a strong sprinter in Marta Bastianelli.
FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope have a strong contender in Stine Borgli, who finished in the top 10 at Dwars door Vlaanderen. They also field Clara Copponi and Eugénie Duval.
Jolanda Neff will hang up her mountain bike to contest her home road race with the Swiss national team. She has often competed successfully in road races (and cyclo-cross) when she is not on the Mountain Bike World Cup circuit. She has been a two-time national road race champion, came 8th in the road race at the 2016 Olympic Games and 9th at the 2015 World Championships.
Ceratizit-WNT have two possible winners in Kathrin Hammes and Lisa Brennauer, both capable climbers and breakaway riders. Arlenis Sierra will lead the A.R Monex team fresh off of victory at Navarra Women's Elite Classics.
The race route
The Tour de Suisse Women will host two stages, both circuit races in and around Frauenfeld. The opening stage on Saturday, June 5, will offer the peloton a hilly 114 kilometres while the second stage on Sunday, June 6, will be a flat 97 kilometres.
Stage 1: Frauenfeld to Frauenfeld, 114km
The opening stage looks to be the more challenging of the two days of racing with a greater distance across a hilly three-lap circuit.
There are three intermediate sprints, one on each lap, positioned directly ahead of each climb at 12.9 kilometres, 51 kilometres and 89.1 kilometres.
There are three ascents, one on each lap, over Herdern which is a 1.8 kilometre climb with an average gradient of 7.8 per cent. The climb comes at 17.8 kilometres, 55.9 kilometres and 94 kilometres into the race and the final ascent is followed by a flat 20.5 kilometre run-in to the finish.
Stage 2: Frauenfeld to Frauenfeld, 97km
The second and final day of racing on a pan-flat route is held on 10-lap circuit around Frauenfeld.
A course for the sprinters, it includes three intermediate sprints at 32.1 kilometres, 58.5 kilometres and 84.9 kilometres.
The men's Tour de Suisse will begin following the women's race, and they will take on a time trial along a similar route.
The teams in action
- Alé BTC Ljubljana
- A.R. Monex Women's Pro Cycling Team
- Canyon SRAM Racing
- Trek-Segafredo Women
- FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
- Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime Women Cycling
- Women Cycling Team
- Macogep Tornatech Girondins de Bordeaux
- Swiss Cycling
- Valcar-Travel & Service
- Parkhotel Valkenburg
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