Preview Hammer Series Hong Kong & Tour of Guangxi 2018
Two challenging races to conclude the season nicely.
On Saturday 9 June, Lotto Soudal will be at the start of the 82nd edition of the Tour de Suisse. This nine-day WorldTour race is with its varied course a good preparation for what awaits the riders in the upcoming Tour de France. When the Tour de Suisse ends in Bellinzona on Sunday 17 June, there are only three weeks left till ‘Le Grand Départ’ in Noirmoutier-en-l’Île.
The Tour de Suisse kicks off with a team time trial of 18.3 kilometres in and around Frauenfeld. The next three stages are hilly and will offer opportunities to strong sprinters as well as attackers. On Wednesday 13 June, the riders will head into the Swiss mountains for three days of climbing. During these days, the sprinters will already look forward to the penultimate stage in Bellinzona, where a short stage of 123 kilometres on an undulating local circuit is scheduled. The Tour de Suisse concludes with a 34 kilometres long individual time trial. Last year, the Slovenian rider Simon Špilak took the overall victory ahead of the Italian Caruso and the Dutchman Kruiswijk.
Mario Aerts, sports director Lotto Soudal: “This year, the Tour de Suisse starts with a team time trial and ends with an individual time trial. These two days will be very important for the general classification. In my opinion, the rest of the stages are rather feasible. Of course, it is still a stage race in Switzerland but some of the previous editions have been harder. This year, there are no summit finishes on a long and tough climb like in Sölden.”
“André Greipel will do the sprint, but I think there will be at most two chances to do so. The second stage in and around Frauenfeld includes some climbing but will possibly end in a sprint. Stage eight in Bellinzona is relatively flat and should also offer a chance to the sprinters. But riders like Gaviria, Sagan and Matthews will have also targeted these stages. Greipel is mainly preparing for his biggest goal this season, which is the Tour de France. Nevertheless, the Tour de Suisse is important to fine-tune the sprint train. Greipel has been riding with Marcel Sieberg for a long time, but not with Jasper De Buyst. But the cooperation between Jasper and André has been running smoothly so far.”
“Tim Wellens will definitely try to win a stage in the Tour de Suisse. Maybe a good result in the general classification is also possible. Tim rode a major part of the Giro d’Italia, so we will have to evaluate his position on GC day by day. Our race tactics will depend on Tim Wellens his position in the general classification. Maxime Monfort is someone who can support Tim, but he is also a perfect rider to join breakaways. Adam Hansen has just completed the Giro but is of course used to riding consecutive races. He will be of crucial importance during the team time trial. He can also contribute to the preparations for the sprint and support Wellens uphill.”
“Neo-pro Bjorg Lambrecht will continue his learning process in the Tour de Suisse. Bjorg already rode some high-level races and did very well so far. He can assist Tim Wellens in obtaining a good result in the general classification. But above all, he has to watch and learn.”
Line-up Lotto Soudal: Jasper De Buyst, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Bjorg Lambrecht, Maxime Monfort, Marcel Sieberg and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Marc Wauters.
Stage 1 Saturday 9 June: Frauenfeld - Frauenfeld (18 km) (TTT)
Stage 2 Sunday 10 June: Frauenfeld - Frauenfeld (155 km)
Stage 3 Monday 11 June: Oberstammheim - Gansingen (182 km)
Stage 4 Tuesday 12 June: Gansingen - Gstaad (189 km)
Stage 5 Wednesday 13 June: Gstaad - Leukerbad (155 km)
Stage 6 Thursday 14 June: Fiesch - Gommiswald (186 km)
Stage 7 Friday 15 June: Eschenbach/Atzmännig - Arosa (170 km)
Stage 8 Saturday 16 June: Bellinzona - Bellinzona (123 km)
Stage 9 Sunday 17 June: Bellinzona - Bellinzona (34 km) (ITT)
Sports director Mario Aerts: "Tim Wellens will definitely try to win a stage in the Tour de Suisse."