Tour de Suisse - a brutal eight-day Pro WorldTour race and cycling festival

5/26/2024 – Lauren Wolff

Tour de Suisse - a brutal eight-day Pro WorldTour race and cycling festival

The Tour de Suisse 2024 is not just a race. It's a thrilling eight-day UCI World Tour event that will push even the most seasoned pro riders to their limits. With its more than 18,000 m brutal ascent, including four mountain summit stage finishes, packed into just eight stages from Sun, Jun 9, to Sun, Jun 16, this event is a must-see for all cycling enthusiasts. Take advantage of the opportunity to watch it on TV and ride segments on ROUVY on the same days the pros race!Switzerland will host this prestigious event for the pro riders, as a challenging bucket list event for recreational cyclists in a unique format, a fun ride for kids, and a full-on cycling festival. Tour de Suisse is typically a tour of classic climbs and testing terrain for the pro riders to tackle over difficult distances, and we will also sample just a taste of a few of the stages virtually on ROUVY.

This prestigious professional cycling stage is one of the most significant stage races globally, just a notch below the Grand Tours (Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España) in terms of prestige and difficulty. Since its inception in 1933, the race has served as a crucial preparatory event for the Tour de France, attracting many top cyclists who use it to hone their form and strategies ahead of the Grand Tours. The race will be a fierce battleground for elite professional cyclists and teams worldwide. UCI WorldTeams (the top tier of professional cycling teams) and ProTeams (the second tier) engage in a cutthroat competition, making it a pivotal race for riders aiming to gauge their form and make final preparations.


Above: The pro peloton making their way up a climb.

This year’s race includes four challenging mountain finishes and an arduous mountain time trial. The women's race is equally demanding, with a series of uphill battles in the picturesque Romandie region.

It will be a rollercoaster of challenges, where the riders will conquer a staggering 950 kilometres and almost 19,000 meters in altitude, favouring the climbers. The ascent is strategically concentrated in the second half of the week, while the time trialists, sprinters, and classics specialists will be in the spotlight in the first half of the race.


Above: The pro peloton has to race the Gotthard Pass on Stage 4.

Swiss weather in June can be unpredictable, adding an extra layer of challenge with the potential for rain, cold, and snow at high altitudes. The race's mountainous stages are particularly gruelling, often featuring some of the most challenging climbs in professional cycling.


Above: The pros must tackle the snaking Nufenen Pass on Stage 6.


Above: The start of the Col de la Croix climb on Stage 7.


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Some background history - the show must go on!

The Tour de Suisse, a testament to the endurance and spirit of cycling, has a rich and storied history. It was first organised in 1933 by the Swiss Cyclists and MotorCyclists Federation to celebrate their 50th anniversary and support the legitimacy of cycling on Swiss roads. Since then, it has become a prestigious event, attracting top riders worldwide and leaving an indelible mark on the sport.


Scene taken from the original Tour de Suisse in 1933 on gravel roads during WW2.

Initially, only Swiss pros participated in the 'Little Tour de Suisse' event. Half a million spectators arrived to cheer on the first edition of the 5 stage event, with 64 entrants and 46 finishers crossing the finish line in Zurich. At the time, WW2 participants entered the challenging race motivated by the fact that they could make a small living in tough economic times when they experienced persistent food rationing and shortages of cycling spare parts like bicycle tyres. The attitude of the event organisers was that the cycling event must go on despite the war.

Legends of the TdS over time

In 1949, the tour organisers were thrilled to include the four greats, Fausto Coppi (historical footage), Gino Bartali, Hugo Koblet, and Ferdy Kübler, on the start list. These were not just cyclists but legends who left an indelible mark on the sport. Other notable winners who graced the stages of this event were Eddy Merckx in 1974 and Sean Kelly, Lance Armstrong and Jan Ulrich in the 1990s. Later, Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan made their mark. Sagan, a record holder with 17 stage wins since 2011, has also won the points classification every year since 2011, apart from 2016, showcasing his consistent dominance.


The Tour de Suisse winner's jerseys

The winners' jerseys will consist of the yellow winner's jersey, the King and Queen of the Mountains winner's jersey in red, and the Sprinter's Points jersey in black. The best young professional rider's jersey is white. Leaders in the young rider classification are usually candidates for the yellow jersey in future grand tours.

The women’s opportunity to shine in 2024

The 2024 Women's Tour de Suisse, held from June 15 to June 18, features four stages. It begins with a 58.9 km circuit in Villars-sur-Ollon, followed by a challenging 15.7 km individual time trial from Aigle to Villars-sur-Ollon. The third stage covers 128.8 km from Vevey to Champagne, and the final stage is a 127.3 km circuit around Champagne. As part of the UCI Women's WorldTour, this race serves as crucial preparation for the Tour de France Femmes, offering a mix of flat and mountainous terrains. Marlen Reusser of Team SD Worx won the 2023 edition, demonstrating her strong performance throughout the event.


Above: The Tour de Suisse women’s peloton.


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Important locations in the Tour de Suisse 2024

The Tour de Suisse departs from Vaduz and travels through the heart of Switzerland from north to south before heading west for the final two stages around Villars-sur-Ollon. Here are the stages and segments you can ride on ROUVY in more detail in the upcoming Tour de Suisse Spotlight.

Stage 1: Vaduz to Vaduz (4.8 km, ITT)

The 2024 Tour de Suisse starts with a short, flat individual time trial in Vaduz. This 4.8 km route will test the riders' speed and precision, setting an early pace for the race.


Above: Ride Stage 1 Tour de Suisse from Vaduz to Vaduz.

Stage 1 Vaduz to Vaduz on ROUVY:

Embark on a journey to the captivating old city of Vaduz, home to a castle that is as stunning as it is historic. This 4.3 km flat route is set against snow-capped and scenic mountainous landscapes.

Stage 2: Vaduz to Regensdorf (177.9 km)

This stage takes the peloton from Vaduz to Regensdorf over 177.9 km. The route is expected to feature rolling terrain, providing opportunities for breakaways and testing the sprinters' endurance.


Above: Ride Stage 2 Kollbrunn on ROUVY.

Stage 2 - Kollbrunn on ROUVY:

Enjoy a rolling downhill route from Mosnang, a village in Toggenburg in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen. Meander through picturesque countryside and small towns and finish in Kollbrunn, a village within the municipality of Zell in the canton of Zurich.

Stage 3: Steinmaur to Rüschlikon (161.9 km)

Riders will journey from Steinmaur to Rüschlikon over 161.9 km. This stage will likely include several challenging climbs, favouring the climbers and aggressive racers looking to gain time.


Above: Ride Stage 3 from Rüschlikon on ROUVY.

Stage 3 - Rüschlikon on ROUVY:

Experience a route designed for the puncheurs, those who can easily conquer hilly courses. From Unterlunkhofen in Aargau, this picturesque journey takes you through rolling hills, farmland, forests, and small streams, all leading to Lake Zurich in Rüschlikon.

Stage 4: Rüschlikon to San Gottardo (170.5 km)

A mountain stage covering 170.5 km from Rüschlikon to San Gottardo will be a crucial test for the general classification contenders. The challenging ascents will significantly shape the overall standings.

Stage 5: Ambri to Carí (148.8 km)

This stage involves a route from Ambri to Carí over 148.8 km, known for its steep inclines. It will test the climbers and could create significant time gaps among the competitors.


Above: Ride Stage 5 - Carí on ROUVY.

Stage 5 - Carí - on ROUVY:

Get ready for a thrilling challenge on a course that starts flat. At 6.7 km, it's time to gear up! The Carì climb from Faido Tessin, challenging at 11.6km long, ascends 938m with an average gradient of 8%. This climb is not for the faint-hearted, but if you are seeking a challenge, this is for you.

Stage 6: Locarno to Blatten-Belalp (151.2 km)

This 151.2 km stage features more high-altitude challenges from Locarno to Blatten-Belalp, ensuring another day of tough climbing that will be pivotal for mountain specialists.

Stage 7: Villars-sur-Ollon to Villars-sur-Ollon (118.7 km)

It will be a shorter mountain stage in Villars-sur-Ollon, 118.7 km long, with multiple ascents. This stage is expected to be a decisive battle for the overall race leaders.

Stage 8: Aigle to Villars-sur-Ollon (15.7 km, ITT)

The race concludes with a 15.7 km individual time trial from Aigle to Villars-sur-Ollon. This uphill time trial will be the final opportunity for riders to secure or defend their positions in the general classification.


Stage 8 - Villars - on ROUVY:

The 16-kilometre time trial from Aigle to Villars-sur-Ollon includes almost 900m of ascent at an average of nearly 8% to conquer. Your power reserves are crucial in this final stage. Use the first 5 km to loosen and warm up the legs for the climb.

Ride on terrains from the 2024 Tour de Suisse, with profiles to suit everyone, from flat to hilly, with magnificent scenery. During the event, you can participate in races, group rides, route challenges, and Workout Challenges on these Tour de Suisse routes. Our excellent Climber Training Plan will also go a long way in improving your overall strength. Look under the Tour de Suisse Spotlight, socials, and newsletters for event details and fantastic prizes to be won.

Get ready for the thrilling annual Tour de Suisse Spotlight with exciting prizes, a unique experience that brings the excitement of outdoor pro cycling inside.

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