By David Hunter
Due to lots of snow the organisers had to quickly alter stages 5, 6 and 8 in the past week. The result is a slightly easier race, as lots of high altitude has been removed, but it’s still looking hard to me. Saying that, it does suit a strong climber/TT rider.
The race starts with a flat 11km TT. One for the specialists.
Too hard for the pure sprinters, this is a stage that will interest van der Poel. Some sprinters will hope to hang on, but the two climbs close to the finish are likely to be too steep for them.
Despite a few lumps, I see this as our first proper sprint stage. It’s certainly not an easy day, but with the Tour de France just around the corner most of the fast men will be climbing well enough to survive this stage.
The last stage for the sprinters. One of the easiest Tour de Suisse stages you’re likely to find.
We finish where Diego Ulissi won in 2018, the final climb is hard to create gaps. The penultimate climb is tough, I wonder if any of the GC riders will try and go long. The finish isn’t what the organisers had originally planned, probably because it’s unlikely to cause gaps between the best riders.
A classic looking breakaway stage. It’s a short day, but the final big climb crests a long way from home, which normally stops attacks from the GC riders. It’s very likely that a big break will establish on the first climb never to be seen again. If you’re a good climber who likes breakaways, you’ll be saving energy for this one.
Up a mountain, then down again. I love the look of this TT. The climb’s a tough one, it’s not a day for the heavy TT riders.
The Queen stage does still have three big climbs, but it’s significantly easier than the organisers had originally planned. Having two climbs at the start, but then a long section in the valley isn’t great for the watching fans. It’s unlikely we’ll see a huge amount of action until the final climb up the Gotthardpass, which is hard, but not that hard. If you are looking to gain time on the GC, this stage isn’t ideal.
Ineos – Carapaz and Dennis should be co-leaders, in my opinion. The importance of the TTs cannot be underestimated, that gives Dennis a big say in the outcome of this race, but he needs to be better than he was in Romandie. With the Tour de France just three weeks away, I think he’ll be climbing like he was at the Giro. Carapaz started the season slowly, but he looked better in the Ardennes. He’s the best climber in the race, but will he do well enough in the TTs to win the yellow jersey?
Julian Alaphilippe – is he lining up for another crack at the Tour de France? Rumour has it he’s been spending a considerable amount of time on his TT bike, a sign that he’s serious about going for yellow. The Tour de Suisse is a race he can win, especially now it’s been made a little easier. A win in this race would set him up nicely for the Tour.
Tiesj Benoot – 4th here in 2019 was a significant result for Tiesj, can he do something similar this year? The amount of TT kilometres isn’t great for him, I get the feeling he’ll be hunting stage wins and he’ll see where that leaves him on GC. He’s recently been up at Sierra Nevada; he normally goes well after a spell at altitude.
Lucas Hamilton – three world tour stage races this season, three top 10s. The young Aussie is beginning to get quite a big reputation, he looks like one of the stars of the future. Given the level of climbers at this race, he’ll be hoping to be challenging for the podium, but he’ll need to do well in the TT stages to achieve this. This is an area he needs to improve, but he’s still young.
Marc Hirschi – his form was heading in the right direction during the Ardennes, I hope to see him back to his best in this race. I doubt he’ll be challenging for the yellow jersey, but there are a few stages that suit him well.
Jakob Fuglsang – it’s been a while since we’ve seen him challenging to win a world tour stage race. The early part of his season was a disappointment, he wasn’t at the level we’ve come to expect. A break, followed by some altitude training, could well have done the trick. You just never know with Fuglsang these days.
Max Schachmann – as the route is easier than originally planned, it does give the German a chance of winning, but I still don’t think he’ll take home the yellow jersey.
Michael Woods – as the TT features a big climb, he should do better than usual. His current form is very good, the Canadian has impressed this season. He’ll be aiming for the podium.
Wout Poels – after a disappointing start to the season, he could really do with a good result. I find him very hard to predict.
The win will go to Ineos and Rohan Dennis.
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