Quick-Step Floors Team to Tour de Suisse
The nine-day race, one of the most prestigious in the world, will be bookended by time trials and packed with three mountain top finishes.
An undulating prologue will kick off things at the 81st Tour de Suisse, the final World Tour race of June, before the riders will take on a hilly circuit around Cham, a small town located on the northern shore of Lake Zug. No later than stage 3 the fast men of the peloton will come to the fore, but the most awaited leg of the race's first part will be the one leading to Villars-sur-Olon, a summit finish which should witness some serious time gaps between the yellow jersey contenders.
The iconic Simplonstrasse (1989 meters) could favour a breakaway, before the second mountain top arrival, coming on stage 6, when the peloton is set to tackle La Punt. A trip to Sölden, in Austria, for the Tour de Suisse's third and final uphill finish, will once again spice up things in the general classification, before the penultimate stage, consisting of a challenging circuit in Schaffhausen, which will for sure take the sting out of the riders' legs.
Once this will be completed, the riders will stay in Schaffhausen for the closing individual time trial, a 28.6km-long effort against the clock, which will by no means be an easy one, due to its rolling terrain which includes a short but very testing ascent, from whose top only five fast kilometers remain to the finish.
Quick-Step Floors – a winner of nine stages at the past 13 editions – is coming here with a strong and experienced squad capable of adding to that tally. The team, which will be led from the car by Geert Van Bondt and Rik van Slycke, will comprise Jack Bauer, Gianluca Brambilla, David De La Cruz, Philippe Gilbert, Yves Lampaert, Davide Martinelli, Zdenek Stybar and Matteo Trentin, riders who between them have racked up eight victories this season.
"It's a hard Tour de Suisse, but when did a race of such caliber has been easy? Our main goal is to get a stage win here, and if you look at our team you can see we have some options, so we are confident in our chances. For the general classification, Brambilla is our man, but without putting any pressure on him. We'll just take things day by day and see where we stand as the race progresses", said sport director Rik van Slycke.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele