Sagan looking to fine tune form at Tour de Suisse

Having won at least a stage and the green jersey at the race for the past five seasons, Peter Sagan returns to the Tour de Suisse in search of continued success in the 2016 edition, and to continue building his form ahead of Le Tour. After a return to racing at the Amgen Tour of California, where he scored two stage wins as well as winning the points classification jersey, Sagan will come into the nine-day WorldTour race in search of stage results and further race speed in the legs.

Lining up alongside the UCI WorldTour rankings leader is a team with a mixture of youth and experience. Manuele Boaro, Jay McCarthy, Evgeny Petrov and Ivan Rovny come to the race from the Giro d’Italia, joined by Maceij Bodnar and Oscar Gatto who recently raced the Tour de Luxembourg. The team is completed by Peter Sagan’s brother, Juraj Sagan.

Looking ahead to the race, Sport Director Patxi Vila said: “We go to Switzerland with a mixed line up, some guys coming from the Giro and others from California or back from injury. We’ll be aiming for stage results as we don’t have a main rider for the GC here.

“Jay and Rovny come here from the Giro and will see what they can do overall but it will be a really tough race, and a bit of a shot in the dark for the GC – we will see how they feel day by day. On the other side, we have a strong team to fight for stage wins with Peter. Already, stages 2, 3 and 4 look good for him. Then we have Boaro and Bodnar for the time trials. On the other days we will look to fight for the breakaways and go for results from here.”

The race gets underway with a 6.4km opening time trial in the municipality of Baar, over a largely flat parcours which will suit the time trial specialists. The action then kicks off in earnest on stage 2 with a 187.6km stage based on four laps of a large circuit, with a testing ascent each lap but not difficult enough for the pure climbers to break the race.

Stage 3 will be another opportunity for a fast finish, and if Peter and the team didn’t score their first result the previous day, this one will be marked in the road book as a big opportunity to score a result early in the race.

The first uphill finish falls on stage 5, a day that also takes in the difficult Furkapass and Gotthardpass, the first of which climbs to over 2400m. Two more tough days follow each with mountain top finishes, before the race’s second time trial – a longer 16.8km individual effort around Davos. The GC battle could go down to the final stage, a testing, short 117.7km race that features two more HC mountain ascents – the Albulapass and the Flüelapass.

“Past experience has shown that Peter goes better in Switzerland than in California, so we hope that this build of form will continue here,” explained Vila when looking at Peter’s form. “It will be his last race before the Tour de France so it will be a good one for him to test his legs again.”

“The Tour de Suisse is a traditional final test before the Tour de France for me,” explained Peter ahead of the race. “During its nine, tough, stages I’m going to check my current form, and of course, if it’s possible, I would like to add some stage victories to my collection. The second, third and fourth stage could be ideal, because there’s a good chance that they will end with a bunch sprint.”