Rally Cycling is returning to the Tour de Suisse for the second time in the team’s history. Held from June 6 – 13, the team will face a stacked WorldTour peloton that includes Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), and Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo Visma).
Last year’s edition went virtual and although the team had much success, they’re very much looking forward to racing on real roads and through one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The team spoke with Switzerland-based photographer Anthony Leutenegger to learn more about the history of the area ahead of another exciting edition.
Roster: Rob Britton, Matteo Dal-Cin, Ben King, Gavin Mannion, Kyle Murphy, Joey Rosskopf, and Nickolas Zukowsky.
June 6, Stage 1: Frauenfeld > Frauenfeld – 10.9km ITT
Frauenfeld couldn’t look or feel more Swiss if it tried. As well as the super technical opening time trial at this year’s race, the historic town is home to Frauenfeld Castle, which looks more movie set than a stronghold. It’s also home to Sigg Switzerland, a company famous for its iconic water bottle design which is included in the permanent design collection of MOMA in New York.
June 7, Stage 2: Neuhausen am Rheinfall > Lachen – 173km
The punchy second stage starts at the most powerful waterfall in Europe. In summer, about 600,000 litres of water per second tumble down into the falls, so it’s no surprise that it’s the most visited day trip destination in the area. The peloton will race through more historic towns (this will be a theme from here on), some of which date back to early last millennium, and will visit Lake Constance, or Bodensee, on their way to Lake Zurich.
June 8, Stage 3: Lachen > Pfaffnau – 185km (2490m)
Stage 3 has been described as having a Spring Classic character. If you can pull your eyes away from the attack-filled bike racing, there’s plenty of history to get your teeth into. About an hour into the stage is the site of the Battle of Morgarten on the edge of Lake Aegeri, which marked the start of the Swiss Habsburg Wars from 1315. The race will also get its first sighting of the St. Urban Monastery, a marvel of Cistercian architecture which now plays host to concerts, art exhibitions and guided tours.
June 9, Stage 4: St. Urban > Gstaad – 171km (2096m)
Starting from St. Urban, stage 4 does a touch of climbing on the way to the high-end town of Gstaad – you’ve probably heard of it. At one point it was home to the most millionaires per capita in the world. It’s the kind of Swiss town where the grass is cut by hand with scissors, or so the joke goes. Think Monaco, but in the mountains. Hemingway was a frequent visitor to Gstaad’s luxury retreats.
June 10, Stage 5: Gstaad > Leukerbad – 172km (2850m)
As the peloton leaves Gstaad, look out for the many old collectible cars and Ferraris the locals will want to show off. They’ll soon be forgotten though as the race heads into the mountains proper before dropping back down a stunning descent into the Valais. They’ll visit Aigle, home to the headquarters of the UCI, and pass through one of the most sought after wine regions in Switzerland. Look out for the frankly bizarre Schloss Leuk (Leuk Castle) and its curious egg-shaped glass – err – helmet just before the final climb.
June 11, Stage 6: Andermatt > Disentis-Sedrun – 130km (3190m)
And so begins three days that will have heads spinning by the end of the race. The race organizers have had to change the entire route, diverting away from the still snow-covered high passes and routing the last three stages around the remote holiday destination of Andermatt. Stage 6 sees the first passage of the San Gotthard Pass (2,106m) which includes the first road tunnel in the Alps and the strikingly-named Devil’s Bridge, a site oozing with stories dating back to the French Revolution.
June 12, Stage 7: Disentis-Sedrun > Andermatt – 23.2km ITT (656m)
The individual time trial on the penultimate stage is frankly cruel. In the first half of the stage, each rider will climb the 11.9km Oberalppass which peaks at 2,046m, and then ride the fast descent back to Andermatt. Perhaps the best seats in the house will be from the mountain train that ferries passengers to the summit.
June 13, Stage 8: Andermatt > Andermatt – 160km (3560m)
The last day essentially retraces the past two stages, which means there’s a lot of climbing to do on some of the most beautiful mountains in Europe. Given the wintery weather that has lingered deep into spring, we can expect some high walls of snow over the higher passes. Though it’s physically not the most hospitable of environments, it’s visually breathtaking and a true Mecca for cyclists.
Viewers in the US, Canada, and Australia can watch each Tour de Suisse stage live on FloBikes.