The Tour de Suisse was the toughest of recent years. And that was exactly how the Tour de Suisse Challenge 2022 unfolded. A total of 28 participants battled the heat, the altitude and the physical demands over the course of 8 days.
Not a flat stage in sight
During the first half of the week it was clear that there was no time to relax. Although the circuit in Küsnacht was only completed once, there were still more than 6,500 metres of altitude to be covered by the end of the third stage in Grenchen. Participants could however be compensated for their exertions by the beautiful scenery of the Zurich Oberland, the Baselland region and the Jura. In addition, the atmosphere on the last kilometres to the finish was overwhelming. Thousands of spectators lined the roadside and created fantastic ambience for the riders of the Tour de Suisse Challenge. Not only great motivation but also a taste of what the Pros experience.
Where additional circuits existed at the end of stages, participants could decide for themselves whether they wanted to add a few more kilometres. Those who felt they had pedalled enough could chose to stop and enjoy the atmosphere of the finish area.
Two tough mountain finishes
After a somewhat easier stage and consequently a short breather from Grenchen to Brunnen, the battle against the heat and mountains continued in the second half of the week. On day 5, a pure Ticino stage was on the agenda. In the steep climbs of the 2009 World Championship course, the temperature rose to 35 degrees in the blazing sun. And the heat was to remain a constant companion. On both the Queen stage and the 7th stage on Friday, it was decided to forego the first 40 kilometres of the original route in order to reach the finish safely ahead of the professionals. It was the right decision. All participants who tackled the final climbs to Moosalp (stage 6) and Malbun (stage 7) reached the summit before the Pros. Impressive achievements after having already crossed an Alpine pass on both stages, the Nufenen and the Lukmanier.
There was more to the Challenge than just strenuous hours in the saddle though – there were also many relaxing moments. For example, the beautiful view from Serpiano featuring a breathtaking sunset. Or the many encounters with the professional riders in the hotels or along the route.
A joint finish under the eyes of the Prince
The last day gave everyone the chance to demonstrate their starting skills from the time trial ramp before setting off together for the last 25 kilometres. An exciting and unforgettable week came to an end in Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein. “I am once again impressed by the performance of all participants. Completing such a hard and hot Tour de Suisse deserves the greatest respect,” says Tour de Suisse Challenge Brand Manager Patrick Huber.
A big thank you for the hard work and support of all staff and Sponsors. This event would not be possible without them!