'I'm looking forward to good hotels' - the Tour de France tackles Switzerland, its fourth country in a week

It will be a big moment for the four Swiss riders in the peloton, albeit a brief one

Stefan Bissegger
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After the ten Danish riders at the Tour de France got to experience home roads, the 34 Frenchmen at this year's race received the adulation of their native fans, and the peloton's 18 Belgian's briefly breathed Belgian air, it is the turn of the Swiss this weekend.

There are just four in the bunch - Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-EasyPost), Sylvan Dillier (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) and Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) - but it will still be a treat to race in Switzerland for them.

Stage eight finishes in Lausanne on Saturday night, before stage nine begins in Aigle and only crosses back into France in the final few kilometres of the day.

For Bissegger, the good things about racing in his own country will not be limited to the level of support on the side of the road. 

"It's really nice, I'm looking forward to good hotels and everything, cos the level is normally a bit higher than here in France," he explained before stage seven. "It is super nice to see the cities open up for stuff like this, they can do it with all the politics and stuff."

Apparently it is a big deal that Lausanne has allowed the Tour to finish in its centre, and this is not usually popular with the Swiss.

"It's normally really hard to close a city, we arrive in the middle of it," he continued. "I'm wondering how the Worlds in Zurich [in 2024] are going to be. To close down such big cities for more days, Swiss people aren't happy about it normally. Swiss people just follow the rules too much."

While the Swiss can continue to follow the rules, they can also enjoy the sight of the peloton racing by for just under 24 hours. Sadly for Bissegger, his family are from the other side of the country, so it doesn't feel like a "super home" race.

This hasn't prevented the family of another Swiss rider, Dillier, from travelling about 200km to watch this weekend.

"It's a big thing," the Alpecin rider told Cycling Weekly. "The Tour is one of the biggest events in sport. Now we go to Switzerland, the Tour is so big that many Swiss people know it, and they want to experience the whole atmosphere. I expect quite a lot of spectators. My family will be there, so it will be special.

"I'm closer to Zurich, so in Swiss terms it's quite a long travel. When it's close they come anyway."

Switzerland has two WorldTour races of its own, the Tour de Romandie and the Tour de Suisse, but the level for the Tour will apparently be much, much higher. That's what is being expected anyway.

"The whole thing around the Tour de France is so big," Dillier said. "You almost cannot compare it to any other race. The attention of the media, press and TV, everything is so much bigger."

"Normally I don't get so many interviews, but already for the next two, three days everybody asks me about the stages in Switzerland," he continued. This story is part of that, so apologies to Sylvan for that.

Swiss riders have won 58 stages at the Tour over the years, the last one coming in 2020 with Hirschi, a man who could do something this weekend if he is allowed to by his team leader, Tadej Pogačar. However, Switzerland's last overall win came in 1951 through Hugo Koblet, and it might be a while until that record is emulated.

"It's something special for all of us, for all us Swiss guys," Dillier concluded. "I guess the other Swiss riders will have family there, it's nice."

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