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68th Tour de Suisse- 2.HC

Switzerland, June 12-20, 2004

Stages and results     Past winners

Different format for 68th Tour de Suisse

By Jeff Jones

2003 winner Alexandre Vinokourov
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

The 68th edition of the Tour de Suisse will run between Saturday, June 12 and Sunday, June 20, a reduction in stages from 10 to 9 this year. And for the first time since 1993, the race will be run without a prologue, instead starting with a 170 km flat stage between Sursee and Beromünster. The sprinters will have another chance in Stage 2 between Dürrenroth and Rheinfelden (169.9 km), which is also quite flat. Stage 3 from Rheinfelden to Vallorbe/Juraparc is easy at first, but the last 3 km of the 185 km stage are quite hard as the riders climb up to the Juraparc.

The fourth stage, from Le Sentier/Vallée de Joux to Bätterkinden is the longest of the Tour de Suisse at 211.6 km, but it should be another one for the sprinters. Stage 5 from Bätterkinden to Adelboden is the second uphill finish, and the riders climb 560m in the last 15 km, with the final 3 km being the toughest.

This is merely a prelude for Stage 6, the queen stage between Frutigen and Linthal over 185.4 km. Featuring both the Sustenpass (2224m, 18 km at 7.2%) and Klausenpass (1948m, 24.5 km at 6.1%), the stage finishes with a 25 km descent into Linthal. There is not much respite on Stage 7 (Linthal - Malbun), with a couple of short climbs before the final ascent to Malbun, which averages 8.1% over its 13.3 km.

Stage 8 from Buchs to Bellinzona (191.3 km) contains the climb up to Films in the early part of the stage, followed by the Lukmanier pass (1920m, 18.1 km at 7.2%) with its summit at 120 km. This stage is perfect for a non-threatening breakaway group to stay clear for the stage win, depending on how the GC looks at this point. The final stage is a testing 25.6 km time trial in Lugano, which will put the seal on the overall classification.

With the confirmation of defending champion Alexandre Vinokourov and Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) for the TdS, the race should be an important one to assess these riders' pre-Tour de France form. Ullrich - who now lives in Switzerland - doesn't think that he is the top favourite for the race, which will go over some of his training routes. But the three uphill finishes and the individual time trial will be crucial in putting the final touches to his form.

The Swiss-based Phonak team will start as favourites, with Alex Zülle leading a strong squad that includes Alexandre Moos, Oscar Camenzind and Daniel Schnider. Team CSC's Bobby Julich will also be looking to gain a little pre-Tour form, while Quick.Step's Patrik Sinkewitz will face his next test after winning the Tour of Germany.

Stefano Garzelli (Vini Caldirola) will be back in his first race since the Giro, and if he has recovered from his bronchitis should be a candidate for a stage win or two. His teammate Pavel Tonkov rode well in the Giro, and may be looking to do something for himself on the GC.

Swiss rider Fabian Jeker will lead the Saunier Duval team in the Tour de Suisse. Jeker picked up a stage win in the Tour de Romandie last month, and will be hoping for another one in his national tour. Gerolsteiner's Georg Totschnig and Fassa Bortolo's Dario Cioni are certainly both top five GC candidates, while Saeco's Danilo Di Luca and Gerrit Glomser will be wanting to string together a few results.

In the sprinting stakes, Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Olaf Pollack (Gerolsteiner), Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon), Stefan Van Dijk (Lotto-Domo), Damien Nazon (Credit Agricole), Andrus Aug (Domina Vacanze), Marco Zanotti (Vini Caldirola), Massimo Strazzer (Saunier Duval) and Jan Svorada (Lampre) should provide plenty of action.

Past winners

      Winner                      Second                    Third
2003  Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz)  Giuseppe Guerini (Ita)    Oscar Pereiro (Spa) 
2002  Alex Zülle (Swi)            Piotr Wadecki (Pol)       Nicolas Fritsch (Fra)
2001  Lance Armstrong (USA)       Gilberto Simoni (Ita)     Wladimir Belli (Ita) 
2000  Oscar Camenzind (Swi)       Dario Frigo (Ita)         Wladimir Belli (Ita)
1999  Francesco Casagrande (Ita)  Laurent Jalabert (Fra)    Gilberto Simoni (Ita)
1998  Stefano Garzelli (Ita)      Beat Zberg (Swi)          Wladimir Belli (Ita)
1997  Christophe Agnolutto (Fra)  Oscar Camenzind (Swi)     Jan Ullrich (Ger)
1996  Peter Luttenberger (Aut)    Gianni Faresin (Ita)      Gianni Bugno (Ita)
1995  Pawel Tonkov (Rus)          Alex Zülle (Swi)          Zenon Jaskula (Pol)
1994  Pascal Richard (Swi)        Wladimir Pulnikow (Rus)   Gianluca Pierobon (Ita)
1993  Marco Saligari (Ita)        Rolf Järmann (Swi)        Fernando Escartin (Spa)
1992  Giorgio Furlan (Ita)        Gianni Bugno (Ita)        Fabian Jeker (Swi)
1991  Luc Roosen (Bel)            Pascal Richard (Swi)      Andrew Hampsten (USA)
1990  Sean Kelly (Irl)            Robert Millar (Gb)        Andrew Hampsten (USA)
1989  Beat Breu (Swi)             Daniel Steiger (Swi)      Jörg Müller (Swi)
1988  Helmut Wechselberger (Aut)  Steve Bauer (Can)         Acacio da Silva (Por)
1987  Andrew Hampsten (USA)       Peter Winnen (Ned)        Fabio Parra (Col)
1986  Andrew Hampsten (USA)       Robert Millar (GB)        Greg Lemond (USA)
1985  Phil Anderson (Aus)         Niki Rüttimann (Swi)      Guido Winterberg (Swi)
1984  Urs Zimmermann (Swi)        Silva da Acacio (Por)     Gerhard Zadrobilek (Aut)
1983  Sean Kelly (Ire)            Peter Winnen (Ned)        Jean-Marie Grezet (Swi)
1982  Giuseppe Saronni (Ita)      Theo de Rooy (Ned)        Guido van Calster (Bel)
1981  Beat Breu (Swi)             Joseph Fuchs (Swi)        Leonardo Natale (Ita)
1980  Mario Beggia (Ita)          Josef Fuchs (Swi)         Joop Zoetemelk (Ned)
1979  Wilfried Wesemael (Bel)     Rudi Pevenage (Bel)       Leonardo Mazzantini (Ita)
1978  Paul Wellens (Bel)          Ueli Sutter (Swi)         Josef Fuchs (Swi)
1977  Michel Pollentier (Bel)     Lucien van Impe (Bel)     Bert Pronk (Ned)
1976  Hennie Kuiper (Ned)         Michel Pollentier (Bel)   José Pesarradona (Spa)
1975  Roger de Vlaeminck (Bel)    Eddy Merckx (Bel)         Louis Pfenninger (Swi)
1974  Eddy Merckx (Bel)           Gösta Pettersson (Swe)    Louis Pfenninger (Swi)
1973  José-Manuel Fuente (Spa)    Donato Giuliani (Ita)     Wladimiro Panizza (Ita)
1972  Louis Pfenninger (Swi)      Roger Pingeon (Fra)       Michele Dancelli (Ita)
1971  Georges Pintens (Bel)       Louis Pfenninger (Swi)    Ugo Colombo (Ita)
1970  Roberto Poggiali (Ita)      Louis Pfenninger (Swi)    Primo Mori (Ita)
1969  Vittorio Adorni (Ita)       Aurelio Gonzales (Spa)    Bernard Vifian (Swi)
1968  Louis Pfenninger (Swi)      Robert Hagmann (Swi)      Hermann van Springel (Bel)
1967  Gianni Motta (Ita)          Rolf Maurer (Swi)         Luis-Pedro Santamarina (Spa)
1966  Ambrogio Portalupi (Ita)    Carlo Chiappano (Ita)     Ruedi Zollinger (Swi)
1965  Franco Bitossi (Ita)        Joseph Huysmans (Bel)     Marcello Mugnaini (Ita)
1964  Rolf Maurer (Swi)           Franco Balmamion (Ita)    Italo Zilioli (Ita)
1963  Giuseppe Fezzardi (Ita)     Rolf Maurer (Swi)         Attilio Moresi (Swi)
1962  Hans Junkermann (Ger)       Franco Balmamion (Ita)    Aldo Moser (Ita)
1961  Attilio Moresi (Swi)        Hilaire Couvreur (Bel)    Alfred Rüegg (Swi)
1960  Alfred Rüegg (Swi)          Kurt Gimmi (Swi)          René Strehler (Swi)
1959  Hans Junkermann (Ger)       Henri Anglade (Fra)       Federico Bahamontes (Spa)
1958  Pasquale Fornara (Ita)      Hans Junkermann (Ger)     Nino Catalano (Ita)
1957  Pasquale Fornara (Ita)      Edgar Sorgeloos (Bel)     Attilio Moresi (Swi)
1956  Rolf Graf (Swi)             Fritz Schär (Swi)         Joseph Planckaert (Bel)
1955  Hugo Koblet (Swi)           Stan Ockers (Bel)         Carlo Clerici (Swi)
1954  Pasquale Fornara (Ita)      Agostino Coletto (Ita)    Giancarlo Astrua (Ita)
1953  Hugo Koblet (Swi)           Fritz Schär (Swi)         Danilo Barozzi (Ita)
1952  Pasquale Fornara (Ita)      Ferdinand Kübler (Swi)    Carlo Clerici (Swi)
1951  Ferdinand Kübler (Swi)      Hugo Koblet (Swi)         Alfredo Martini (Ita)
1950  Hugo Koblet (Swi)           Jean Goldschmit (Lux)     Aldo Ronconi (Ita)
1949  Gottfried Weilenmann (Swi)  Georges Aeschlimann (Swi) Ernst Stettler (Swi)
1948  Ferdinand Kübler (Swi)      Giulio Bresci (Ita)       Hans Sommer (Swi)
1947  Gino Bartali (Ita)          Giulio Bresci (Ita)       Stan Ockers (Bel)
1946  Gino Bartali (Ita)          Josef Wagner (Swi)        Aldo Ronconi (Ita)
1942  Ferdinand Kübler (Swi)      Willi Kern (Swi)          Fritz Stocker (Swi)
1941  Josef Wagner (Swi)          Werner Buchwalder (Swi)   Ferdinand Kübler (Swi)
1939  Robert Zimmermann (Swi)     Max Bolliger (Swi)        Christophe Didier (Lux)
1938  Giovanni Valetti (Ita)      Arsène Mersch (Lux)       Severino Canavesi (Ita)
1937  Karl Litschi (Swi)          Leo Amberg (Swi)          Walter Blattmann (Swi)
1936  Henri Garnier (Bel)         Gustave Deloor (Bel)      Leo Amberg (Swi)
1935  Gaspard Rinaldi (Fra)       Leo Amberg (Swi)          Henri Garnier (Bel)
1934  Ludwig Geyer (Ger)          Léon Level (Fra)          Francesco Camusso (Ita)
1933  Max Bulla (Aut)             Albert Büchi (Swi)        Gaspard Rinaldi (Fra)

Past winners courtesy of Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com

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