Gstaad was once again host location for the Tour de Suisse this year. At the end of the fourth stage, Switzerland’s Stefan Bissegger was the first to cross the finish line in Saanen. The effort for the OC of the host location Gstaad was not bigger but different than usual because spectators were not allowed in the finish area.
Almost nobody wanted to talk about the weather. And yet, among the significantly fewer spectators on the edge of the course, one could hear here and there: “Does it really have to rain now?”
118 cyclists from all over the world had set out on the 171-kilometre route from St. Urban to Saanen. The peloton made good speed in the first third of the race, making breakaway attempts impossible. On the way towards Simmental, however, Benjamin Thomas from France, Joseph Rosskopf from the USA and Joel Suter from Switzerland were able to escape the peloton. Stefan Bissegger almost missed the connection to this leading group.
When the quartet started the climb to Saanenmöser, they were seven minutes ahead of the peloton. Joel Suter had to let the other three go before Schönried. In the final sprint Bissegger persevered. He crossed the finish line ahead of Thomas and Rosskopf.
Having already been wet in the Simmental, the riders hardly had to deal with precipitation until Schönried. However, the finish of both the leading group and the peloton was then again accompanied by heavy rains.
OC president Mario Cairoli had emphasised several times beforehand that an arrival with sunshine was the declared goal for this year’s host location Gstaad. “At least it wasn’t continuous rain like three years ago,” Cairoli said optimistically on Thursday. And on Friday, the racers left Gstaad for Leukerbad in the best summer weather.
“The team of helpers, which consisted of about 15 volunteers on Wednesday and Thursday, did a great job,” said Cairoli on Thursday. The effort for the OC on site was not significantly greater. The protection concept, the test regime and the movements of the teams in separate bubbles were the responsibility of the Tour organisers. “For us, the biggest change was not to instruct the spectators, but rather to direct them away from the finish area and the start area. Not a rewarding task, but a necessity this time.”
BASED ON AVS/SOPHIA GRASSER/JENNY STERCHI