Tour de Suisse 2014 preview

A look ahead to the 2014 Tour de Suisse (June 14-22): Info, stages, teams, TV guide, past winners and more

On the same weekend that the Criterium du Dauphine reaches its mountainous climax, the other, less high profile pre-Tour de France stage race gets underway: namely, the Tour de Suisse.

The two races are often compared due to their overlapping positions on the calendar and their similarity in terrain. Both are seen as ideal preparation for the Tour de France, and, though the stats show that most yellow jersey winners in the past few decades opted for the Dauphine, there have been plenty of fine rides in July signposted by strong showings in the Tour de Suisse.

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For example, last year Rui Costa won two stages and the overall here before winning a stage at the Tour, while Peter Sagan won a huge four stages here before going on to star a month later in his debut Tour de France.

Although the Dauphine this year boasts the likes of Chris Froome (Sky), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), there are plenty of prestigious names lining up in Switzerland who could have plenty of column inches written about them these coming weeks.

The name that stands out above all the rest is Bradley Wiggins. He’s been hitting the headlines again recently having confirmed that Team Sky do not plan on selecting him for the Tour, making his performance in this race all the more intriguing. Were he to go out and win, and continue to state his desire to ride at the Tour, it seems likely that Sky will come under pressure to select Wiggins from a British public eager to see their hero line-up in Yorkshire.

The route certainly seems to suit Wiggins. There are two time trials (stage one and stage seven), although at 9.4km and 24.7km are not enough to put unassailable time into his rivals.

After the opening time trial, the riders are immediately thrust into some of the race’s most difficult mountains. Stage two contains two beyond-category climbs (the Gotthardpass and the Furkapass), although both are located in the middle of the stage and therefore unlikely to trigger any decisive moves.

Stage three is lumpy and resembles a spring classic, while stages four and five should both end in bunch sprints. Stage six could also produce the same fate, although a pair of short hills in the final 40 kilometres could favour breakaways.

The race’s endgame begins with stage seven’s race against the clock, and continues into the weekend. Stage eight finishes atop the Verbier, the climb in which Contador made his first move en route to winning the 2009 Tour de France (and where Wiggins confirmed his new-found climbing ability by finishing fifth).

Finally, stage eight contains a handful of difficult climbs before a finish on the Saas-Fee, another beyond-category climb that lasts around 20 kilometres.

Tour de Suisse 2014: Stages
Stage one, Saturday June 14, Bellinzona, 9.4km ITT
Stage two, Sunday June 15, Bellinzona – Sarnen, 182km
Stage three, Monday June 16, Sarnen – Heiden, 203km
Stage four, Tuesday June 17, Heiden – Ossingen, 160km
Stage five, Wednesday June 18, Ossingen – Buren a. Aare, 184km
Stage six, Thursday June 19, Buren a. Aare – Delemont, 184km
Stage seven, Friday June 20, Worb – Worb, 24.7km ITT
Stage eight, Saturday June 21, Delemont – Verbier, 219km
Stage nine, Sunday June 22, Martigny – Saas-Fee

Tour de Suisse 2014: Teams
Ag2r La Mondiale
BMC Racing
CCC Polsat Polkowice
IAM Cycling
Omega Pharma-QuickStep
Trek Factory Racing
Wanty-Groupe Gobert

Tour de Suisse 2014: TV Guide
British Eurosport and Eurosport 2 will be broadcasting live coverage and highlights of the 2014 Tour de Suisse. Please check your electronic programme guide for up-to-date information.

Sunday June 15, 16:10 stage one highlights, British Eurosport
Monday June 16, 00:00 stage two highlights, British Eurosport 2
Monday June 16, 14:45 stage three LIVE, British Eurosport 2
Tuesday June 17, 14:45 stage four LIVE, British Eurosport 2
Wednesday June 18, 14:45 stage five LIVE, British Eurosport 2
Friday June 20, 14:45 stage seven LIVE, British Eurosport 2
Friday June 20, 23:00 stage six highlights, British Eurosport
Saturday June 21, 14:45 stage eight LIVE, British Eurosport 2
Sunday June 22, 14:45 stage nine LIVE, British Eurosport

Rui Costa wins overall, Tour de Suisse 2013, stage nine ITT

Tour de Suisse: Recent Winners
2013 Rui Costa (Por) Movistar
2012 Rui Costa (Por) Movistar
2011 Levi Leipheimer (USA) RadioShack
2010 Frank Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank
2009 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank
2008 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas
2007 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Caisse d’Epargne
2006 Koldo Gil (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir
2005 Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
2004 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile

Tour de Suisse: Last year’s top 10 (2013)
1. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar in 31-08-11
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco at 1-02
3. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1-10
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 1-26
5. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing at 1-43
6. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 1-51
7. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing at 2-23
8. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 2-42
9. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 2-42
10. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 3-44