Thursday, 25 May 2017

After an exciting editions of Course de la Paix and Trophee Centre Morbihan, we are heading to Switzerland for Tour du Pays de Vaud, race made for climbers.

Tour du Pays de Vaud first edition was held in 1967, won by Arthur Dahinden. On the list of previous winners we may find quite a long list of current pro's including Michael Schar, Ian Stannard, Chris Juul-Jensen or Moreno Moser. In recent years, US juniors has a quite impressive winning streak with four consecutive wins between 2012 and 2015. Adrien Costa who won in 2014 and 2015 is one of two riders in race history who managed to win twice. Second one was Italian Stefano Bertolini in late 1980s. Last year, Marc Hirschi didn't win a single stage but was up there with the best on all stages and was a part of crucial attack on day two which gave him overall win ahead of Kazakh Dinmukhammed Ulysbayev and world champion, Felix Gall from Austria.

2016 race podium (photo tpv.ch)
 Route

This years route is definitely one for climbers, especially with two hard stages on third day which should be decisive in terms of GC. The race starts as usual with a late evening short prologue which should create first gaps in GC as we have a short hill in the first part of 3,5km long time trial in Montricher.

On the second day of racing riders will face 113km long stage between Concise and Cottens with three categorised climbs. The last and longest climb, Dizy (5,7km) is 20km from the finish and it should be a good opportunity to attack.



The third day of racing is a crucial one with two road stages with uphill finishes in Saint‐Cergue. The morning 65km long stage 2A starts in Ballens. After 25km of racing riders will face first long ascent, Le Saugex, which is 8km long. Once over the top, we have twenty kilometres of hilly terrain before a descent to Saint‐Cergue where we start 10,7km long climb to the finish. If we have a big group together at the bottom, the strongest climber should win it.

The evening stage is a typical "course de côte" stage which is a basically short road stage going uphill to Saint‐Cergue once again. We start in Nyon and after 10 kilometres of flat riders will face the well known climb from the morning stage. Will be interesting to compare these two stages results as we climb the same mountain twice on the same day but on two different stages.



The last stage from Gollion to Vullierens is 90km long with two categorized climbs in the middle (Mont d’Orzeires & Col du Mollendruz) and lots of smaller hills through the whole stage. With GC pretty much set up after stages 2A & 2B we can expect plenty of attacks and the winner could come from a breakaway.

Favorites: 

Switzerland might find it hard to defend last year title but Valère Thiebaud, winner of Tour du Leman, should lead Swiss team in their home race.

Danish team is strong as always and I think it's worth to keep an eye on Mattias Skjelmose, who crashed on first stage in Course de la Paix and couldn't show his full potential. Jakob Hindsgaul was on GC podium in Course de la Paix heading to final stage where he crashed too so with more luck he might be one of the favorites in Tour du Pays de Vaud.

Matteo Jorgenson who finished second in two stage races in USA, Valley of the Sun and San Dimas Stage Race, should lead US team together with Ruben Saatjian who won San Dimas Stage Race and Subaru Sea Otter Classic.

With amount of climb we face in 2017 edition, Karel Vacek has to be one of the favourites to win the race. First year junior from Czech Republic showed his climbing skills with impressive solo win in queen stage of Course de la Paix. Just a few days ago he added another win in Trofeo Enzo Magliore in Italy thanks to his climbing skills.

Norway arrives with a very strong team which includes Course de la Paix winner, Idar Andersen and one of the best time trialist in junior category for now, Andreas Leknessund who finished second in both Course de la Paix and Trophée Centre Morbihan. He has also won time trials in both races. Favorite for the prologue.

Other names to watch: Thibaut Ponsaerts, Jacob Eriksson, Ken Conter, Fabio Mazzuco, Igor Chzhan, Theo Nonnez.

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