What's Cool In Road Cycling

Lotto Soudal: Preview Tour de Suisse

The Tour de Suisse is a nine-day World Tour stage race that starts on Saturday June 10th and finishes on Sunday June 18th. Many riders use this race as a last preparation for the upcoming Tour de France. The course is therefore suited for GC contenders, with a prologue, three mountain stages, a stage for sprinters, some stages for punchers and a time trial on the last day. Lotto Soudal will start with a team that can be competitive in every stage. The prologue and the first two stages are perfect for Jürgen Roelandts, while Maxime Monfort, Tim Wellens and Louis Vervaeke can show themselves in the high mountain stages.

There are some remarkable GC contenders at the start of the Tour de Suisse, such as Tom Dumoulin, the winner of the past Giro d’Italia, but also Ion Izagirre and Miguel Angel Lopez, last year’s winner, are keen on a good result. Next to the GC contenders, there will also be several riders at the start who dominated the spring classics. The Tour de Suisse will probably see some great battles between, Degenkolb, Sagan and Van Avermaet.

Normally, Jens Debusschere would be riding this Tour de Suisse as well, but he cannot start due to a back injury. He will now get proper treatment as he doesn’t want this injury to endanger the Belgian Championships and the rest of the season. He will be replaced by Nikolas Maes.

Jürgen Roelandts: “The prologue will be my first objective in this Tour de Suisse. Normally, a time trial of six kilometres is perfect for me, but this year’s course suits me less. The prologue is on predominantly flat roads and is also less technical than last year, with only four corners. Nevertheless, I aim for a good result.”

“Next to the prologue, there are also some other stages which suit me, with some short climbs along the way. I am on my best in this type of stages, when a small group can make it to the finish. For the remainder of the Tour de Suisse, I hope to finish the mountain stages with a good feeling, to prepare myself in the best possible conditions for the Belgian Championships at June 25th.”

Frederik Willems, sports director Lotto Soudal: “Our main objective is to win a stage in this Tour de Suisse and we are less focused on a good result in the GC. I think we can obtain a good result in almost every stage with this versatile line-up. Jürgen Roelandts can get a good result in the prologue, since he finished second last year. In the two subsequent stages, there are also some chances for him.”

“This year’s Tour de Suisse is yet again another very hard race. This might be an advantage for Tim Wellens, as he always puts up good results in tough circumstances. Apart from Wellens, we also have Maxime Monfort and Louis Vervaeke for the mountain stages, but it remains to be seen how well Monfort has recovered from the Giro d’Italia.”

“The team has performed very well over the past weeks with stage wins in the 4 Jours de Dukerque, the Belgium Tour and the Critérium du Dauphiné. We want to continue this streak in the upcoming Tour de Suisse.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Bart De Clercq, Nikolas Maes, Tomasz Marczynski, Maxime Monfort, Jürgen Roelandts, Louis Vervaeke, Jelle Wallays and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Frederik Willems and Mario Aerts.

Stages
Stage 1 Saturday 10 June: Cham – Cham (6 km) (Prologue)
Stage 2 Sunday 11 June: Cham – Cham (173 km)
Stage 3 Monday 12 June: Menziken – Bern (159.3 km)
Stage 4 Tuesday 13 June: Bern – Villars-sur-Ollon (150.2 km)
Stage 5 Wednesday 14 June: Bex – Cevio (222 km)
Stage 6 Thursday 15 June: Locarno – La Punt (166.7 km)
Stage 7 Friday 16 June: Zernez – Sölden (160.8 km)
Stage 8 Saturday 17 June: Schaffhausen – Schaffhausen (100 km)
Stage 9 Sunday 18 June: Schaffhausen – Schaffhausen (28.6 km) (ITT).

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