Elise Chabbey outsprints Lizzie Deignan at the return of the Tour de Suisse Women

The Swiss champion takes her first pro win and a four-second lead into Sunday’s final stage

Elise Chabbey
(Image credit: Getty)

Elise Chabbey took the first professional win of her career, beating Lizzie Deignan in a clever sprint at the opening stage of the Tour de Suisse Women.

On a rainy Saturday in Frauenfeld, the two women had escaped the clutches of a five-woman group with around 13 of the 114.3km remaining, Chabbey launching an attack which Deignan followed.

Though the Swiss champion was forced to the front 500m from the line, she played a canny game, feinting to open her sprint, sitting down and forcing the Brit onto her shoulder. The pair rode side-by-side until Deignan opened up first, but a patient Chabbey sat in the slipstream before coming over the top to take the victory.

Having attacked the remaining escapees three kilometres from the line, Marlen Reusser (Alé-BTC Ljubljana), a former team-mate of Chabbey’s, was third.

Chabbey has regularly shown her Canyon-SRAM jersey at the front of races this season, though generally working for others, and taking the win in the first stage of her home race wearing the national champion’s colours was especially sweet.

Deignan was clearly disappointed, but the race shows a clear progression after the early part of her season was disrupted by illness. The Brit returned to action last weekend, where she was especially aggressive, helping herTrek-Segafredo team-mate Lucinda Brand to a win at the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour. And in Switzerland she appeared in complete control until the final 100m.

How it happened   

After a 20 year absence, the Tour de Suisse Féminin finally returned on Saturday with a new organisation and a slightly anglicised name, ‘Women’ replacing the French. 

Though that original race consisted of four road stages and a prologue, this year’s event is just two days, the opening stage starting and finishing in Frauenfeld where two decades ago the peloton had raced a second stage of 129km.

Fourth that day, Trixi Worrack finished 10th overall in 2001, and this year started as part of a Trek-Segafredo team led by British rider Lizzie Deignan, still on the comeback trail after a spring of illness.

When the 114.3km race reached the end of the first of three, lumpy laps around Frauenfeld, in Switzerland’s north-east, the peloton remained largely together. However, as the road began to climb on the second circuit Deignan led a strong group up the road.

The 2015 world champion was joined by three home riders, Marlen Reusser (Alé-BTC Ljubljana), mountain biker Jolanda Neff riding for the national team and Chabbey who was joined by her Canyon-SRAM team-mate Mikayla Harvey and Erica Magnaldi (Ceratizit-WNT).

The six women soon built a lead of one minute on a group of five chasers, which included three with team-mates up ahead, including Deignan’s colleague Lucinda Brand, winner of last week’s Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour.

As the weather deteriorated and the wind began to take its toll, the slight figure of Magnaldi slipped off the back, joining the pursuers who began the final lap 1-30 behind the leaders.

Thirteen kilometres later, a cagey intermediate sprint saw Deignan leading out from the front but still able to take the full three seconds bonus, Reusser taking two and Chabbey the one remaining second.

With 20km to go and the lead at 1-50, just ahead of the top of one of the classified climbs Deignan attacked, though was off the front only briefly as cooperation resumed on the descent.

Reusser tried her luck on the next climb but it was Chabbey who instigated the decisive move shortly afterwards on another short ascent.

Only Deignan was able to follow and the pair instantly had a gap, working well to build a lead which was out to 30 seconds as they entered the final 10km and remained as they reached the closing 1000m.

Consisting of 10 laps, Sunday’s second stage also starts and finishes in Frauenfeld and is completely flat. Chabbey and her team will need to remain attentive though, with a maximum of 19 bonus seconds available from intermediate sprints and on the line.

Result

Tour de Suisse Women, stage one Frauenfeld - Frauenfeld (114.3km)  

1. Elisa Chabbey (Sui) Canyon-SRAM in 3-01-25
2. Lizzie Deignan (Gbr) Trek-Segafredo at same time
3. Marlen Reusser (Sui) Alé-BTC Ljubljana at 24 seconds
4. Jolanda Neff (Sui) Switzerland at 32s
5. Mikayla Harvey (NZ) Canyon-SRAM at 37s
6. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 4-22
7. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Ale2-BTC Ljubljana 
8. Erica Magnaldi (Ita) Ceratizit- WNT 
9. Sina Frei (Sui) Switzerland
10. Letizia Borghesi (Ita) AromItalia Basso Bikes Vaiano, all at same time 

General classification after stage one

1. Elisa Chabbey (Sui) Canyon-SRAM in 3-01-12
2. Lizzie Deignan (Gbr) Trek-Segafredo at four seconds
3. Marlen Reusser (Sui) Alé-BTC Ljubljana at 22s
4. Jolanda Neff (Sui) Switzerland at 43s
5. Mikayla Harvey (NZ) Canyon-SRAM at 50s
6. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 4-33
7. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Ale2-BTC Ljubljana at 4-35
8. Erica Magnaldi (Ita) Ceratizit- WNT 
9. Sina Frei (Sui) Switzerland
10. Letizia Borghesi (Ita) AromItalia Basso Bikes Vaiano, all at same time