The NEW Tour de Suisse Challenge 2021 starts with a short tour in Frauenfeld. The flat circuit in the north of Frauenfeld promises to be a good warm-up for the upcoming tough stages. After finishing the first stage we will watch the professional race with excitement. The course will be completed by the professionals in the mode of an individual time trial. Will Stefan Küng be able to exploit his home advantage and claim the yellow leader jersey in Frauenfeld as he did two years ago?
After an easy first day, the Tour de Suisse Challenge 2021 will be tougher this Monday, 7 June 2021. The participants will have the Rhine Falls – Europe’ s largest waterfall – directly in front of them as they head off on a steep climb. From the northernmost tip of the country the route then heads via Schaffhausen, to Steckborn on Lake Constance and Weinfelden. By the time riders reach the Tösstal region, the stage shows its undulating aspect, including two KOM categories in Ghöch Ghöch and on the Oberricken. Via Gommiswald and Reichenburg the riders approach the Obersee and the stage arrival in Lachen. The approach is not direct but over a hilly course including two extra climbs. The second stage will include a wonderful view on Lake Zurich and Lake Constance.
The third stage is all about the lakes – no less than six lakes will be passed along the route. The start will be at the Upper Zurich Lake. The route leads along Lake Aegeri over Sattel to Arth-Goldau and Lake Zug. From there it heads over the Baldeggersee and Halwilersee to Zofingen. The Challenge participants will complete an additional loop before arriving in Pfaffnau. Due to the hilly terrain, the third stage has a spring classic character.
On Wednesday, the “Challenger” will start in front of the baroque 18th century St. Urban monastery towards the Bernese Oberland. The stage leads through the Entlebuch to Langnau i.E. and on to Thun. On the last kilometres the route becomes more demanding with the climb up to Saanenmöser on 1’284 metres over sea level and ends on the airfield of Gstaad. The stage is mostly flat and a last chance to prepare the legs for the upcoming alpine passes for all participants which ride in the 8-day-package. For those, who only ride the first four stages, the NEW Tour de Suisse Challenge ends in Gstaad.
In Gstaad, the road coach and his group set off towards Col du Pillon. Right at the beginning of the stage the participants have to climb a mountain of the 1st category. After a long descent to Aigle passing the UCI headquarters the stage is mostly flat until the big final starts in Sion. The demanding ascent traverses an impressive number of hairpin bends Turtmann and Albinen and on to Leukerbad. For the professional riders this stage will mix the overall classification. Therefore, an exciting final of the professional race is waiting for the Challenge participants after passing their test. For those, who participate on the last four stages, the NEW Tour de Suisse Challenge will start on this stage.
Now the alpine challenges follow one after the other. Shortly after the start in Andermatt, the ascent to the Gotthard Pass follows. Afterwards, a rapid descent into Ticino awaits.
From Airolo the route descends the Leventina Valley to Biasca. From there it continues over the second busiest alpine pass of the Tour de Suisse – the Lukmanier Pass – into the canton of grisons. In Disentis the Tour de Suisse Challengers turn left into the final climb (9km) to Sedrun.
The final weekend of the Tour de Suisse 2021 will take place at the destination hub Andermatt. The mountain time trial on Saturday from Disentis over the Oberalp Pass to Andermatt symbolically connects the two cantons of Grisons and Uri, which are closely linked in the region. It will be exciting to see whether the pure time trial specialists will be able to prevail, or whether glory will go to a climber or even an all-rounder.
For the Tour de Suisse Challenge participants, this day is all about active recovery. Before the final alpine stage on Sunday, the group has to complete the time trial distance on stage 7 and save some energy for Sunday.
The NEW Tour de Suisse Challenge 2021 culminates in a brilliant Queen’s Stage. The demanding Alpine circuit leads over the Oberalp-Lukmanier-Gotthard triumvirate. The final climb in 2021 to the Gotthard Pass will be the last ride for all participants. With three KOMs up for grabs and scarcely any flat sections, the stage reaches a total ascent of 3,560 metres in altitude. Whoever successfully masters this last stage has most honestly earned the podium ceremony and the photo session with the overall winner of the professional race.