The 2024 Tour de Suisse Kicks Off This Sunday

86th tour de suisse 2023 stage 5
2024 Tour de Suisse: How to Watch, Route, & FavesDario Belingheri - Getty Images

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The Tour de Suisse is back starting this Sunday, June 9, with eight stages ranging from just under three miles to over 100 miles in length. After tragedy marred last year’s race with the passing of Gino Mäder, cycling fans are hoping for a safer, smoother race. As a race tightly scheduled ahead of this year’s Tour de France, it’s a great race for underdog riders to score stage wins or for Tour favorites like Tom Pidcock to test their teams and get ready for the big show.

bernard hinault leading at saint gotthard pass, tour de suisse cycling race in switzerland
Keystone-France - Getty Images

Race History

This is the 87th edition of the Tour de Suisse, making it one of the longest-running stage races in the world. First run in 1933, it’s skipped years for World Wars and COVID-19, but nothing else. The race is well known for its brutal (but picturesque) climbs up mountains in the Swiss Alps, like the famed Gotthard Pass.

A women’s iteration of the race was first added in the late 1990s but only existed for four years. A new women’s race was added in 2021, and this year, it will cover four stages starting June 15. (Stay tuned for How to Watch the Women’s Tour de Suisse.)

tour de suisse route
Tour de Suisse

The Route

There are eight stages in the Tour de Suisse, including two individual time trials to start and finish the race. Despite two extremely short time trials, the eight stages still cover 950 kilometers of racing and a whopping 19,000 meters of elevation gain. And considering the climbing doesn’t really get going until the second half of the race, expect some extremely grueling days for climbers from Stage 4 onward. But for the first few days, it’s a time trialist and sprinter paradise, with two relatively flat stages following the initial blazingly fast time trial. And the real challenge? The final stage. Sure, it’s only 15 kilometers. But it’s also 900 meters of climbing: The stage essentially goes from the bottom to the top of a mountain.

  • Stage 1: Vaduz - Vaduz individual time trial (4.77km)

  • Stage 2: Vaduz - Regensdorf (177.3km)

  • Stage 3: Steinmaur - Rüschlikon (161.7km)

  • Stage 4: Rüschlikon - Gotthard Pass (171km)

  • Stage 5: Ambrì - Carì (148.6km)

  • Stage 6: Locarno - Blatten151.4km)

  • Stage 7: Villars-sur-Ollon - Villars-sur-Ollon118.2km)

  • Stage 8: Aigle - Villars-sur-Ollon individual time trial (15.7km)

Tour Director Olivier Senn said that this year, to win is to climb. “Only the best climbers will have a shot at overall victory. Stage wins, on the other hand, will be up for grabs for different types of riders.”

You can watch a preview of the route here:

How to Watch

If you’re in the US, Canada, or Australia, FloBikes ($29.99/month or $150 annually) is the best way to watch the the Tour de Suisse with all eight stages available live and on-demand on, the FloSports IOS app, and the FloSports app for Amazon FireTV, Roku, and Apple TV.

The Tour de Suisse will also be televised throughout the week on Discovery+ in the UK and Europe. However, there will be no Eurosport coverage.

35th tour de l'ain 2023 stage 1
Luc Claessen - Getty Images

What Happened Last Year

It’s impossible to talk about last year’s race without first acknowledging the tragic death of Gino Mäder, who—along with American racer Magnus Sheffield—fell off of a cliff during stage 5 while descending on the Abula Pass. Sheffield suffered a concussion, but Mäder was found submerged in water at the bottom of the ravine. The accident led to many discussions around safety measures in races with steep descents, though little has been done since then to make racing safer.

In the race itself—which was subdued in the last three stages after Mäder’s death—Trek Segafredo rider Mattias Skjelmose took the overall win. At 22 years old, he’s just slightly older than second place, the 20-year-old Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates). Tour de France favorite Remco Evenepoel (Soudal–Quick-Step) finished in third.

Riders to Watch

This is a great race for some lesser-known talents to shine since many of the teams won’t send their big guns to a stage race this close to the Tour de France. But there are still some big guns like Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers). And with a time trial as the final stage, the racing could get interesting as riders try to create time gaps big enough that a single 15.7-kilometer time trial won’t make a major difference in the standings.

Tom Pidcock: It has to be said that Pidcock’s schedule for the next two months is wild. He’ll race Tour de Suisse, then the Crans-Montana MTB World Cup, and then hop into the Tour de France as race leader for INEOS Grenadiers, then head to the Olympics. No big deal.

Mattias Skjelmose: The Lidl-Trek rider who took the surprise win last year is back again for another attempt at a GC win.

Mark Cavendish: While Cavendish is obviously not a usual GC contender, expect to see the Astana Qazaqstan rider lighting up plenty of the sprint stages.

Stephen Küng: The Groupama-FDJ racer is one of the best time trialists out there, so with two ITT stages up for grabs, he’s definitely a contender for those wins at minimum.

Richard Carapaz: He’s won this race twice in the past, and the EF Education-EasyPost racer is likely still feeling particularly grumpy after being left off of the Olympic roster, which may give him the extra push he needs to take another victory.

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