Quick-Step Floors have announced a strong team for the Tour de Suisse consisting of former stage winners Philippe Gilbert and Maximiliano Richeze, Tim Declercq, Fernando Gaviria, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert and Enric Mas.
The race will feature more than 16,000 meters of climbing and will be once again bookended by time trials. The race will start in Frauenfeld with a team time trial held over 18.3 kilometres and conclude in Bellinzona, where the riders will take on an undulating 34.1km-long individual stage against the clock.
In between, the sprinters should have three opportunities to shine, the puncheurs will be expected to contest the stage to Gansingen – on an up-and-down course which won’t offer any moment of respite – while the climbers will look to the stages finishing atop Leukerbad (the 22km ascent which returns after 12 years) and Arosa.
, who will lead the team from the car together with Rik van Slycke, previewed the World Tour event:
“The Tour de Suisse always proves to be a hard race and looking at the route for this year’s edition it won’t be any different,” said Quick Step Floors Sports director Tom Steels. “We start with a TTT, which can be a nice opportunity for the team. It is a fast, relatively flat power road with only two climbs that are not very steep. I think we will see a very high average speed from the winning team.”
“Apart from this, we have a couple of sprint opportunities with Fernando and for the rest it will be up to the climbers. We come with Enric here, who we saw shine earlier in the season when he won the final stage in Pais Vasco, on the mythical Arrate. Most of our riders are just back from an altitude camp, so we have to see how they are easing back into racing”, Steels explained.
“Suisse will be also a good opportunity to work on the sprint train. Many of the contenders for the sprint stages in the Tour de France will be there, which means we have to be at our very best to get a top result with us from Suisse.”
Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team for the Tour de Suisse (2.UWT)
Tim Declercq (BEL)
Fernando Gaviria Rendon (COL)
Philippe Gilbert (BEL)
Iljo Keisse (BEL)
Yves Lampaert (BEL)
Enric Mas (ESP)
Maximiliano Richeze (ARG)