The Tour de Suisse is a pivotal race in the cycling calendar, often seen as a warm-up for the Tour de France. This year’s edition, taking place from June 9 to June 16, promises thrilling battles across its demanding route. Key climbs include the Klausenpass, Gotthard Pass, and the final ascent to the Rettenbach Glacier. Due to unexpected heavy snowfall, there has been a last-minute route change, with some high-altitude sections rerouted to ensure rider safety. Previous winners of note include Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas, and Rui Costa. Here are five riders to watch in 2024’s race.

Marc Hirschi

Marc Hirschi, riding for UAE Team Emirates, has had a strong 2024 season so far. He secured second place at the Amstel Gold Race, narrowly beaten by Tom Pidcock in a thrilling sprint finish. Hirschi also claimed victory at the Faun Drome Classic, demonstrating his climbing and tactical skills by breaking away in the final kilometres to finish solo. Additionally, he showed strong performances in other races, including a sixth-place finish at the Figueira Champions Classic and a stage win at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

Historically, Hirschi has performed well at the Tour de Suisse, and his familiarity with the Swiss roads gives him a solid chance. In previous editions, Hirschi has often been in the mix for stage victories, using his explosive power on short, sharp climbs. His ability to read the race and time his attacks perfectly makes him a constant threat in breakaways. Hirschi’s strengths lie in his climbing ability and explosive attacks, making him a favourite for the hilly stages. With the support of his team and his current form, Hirschi is well-positioned to aim for stage wins and possibly a high overall classification.

Arnaud De Lie

Arnaud De Lie of Lotto Dstny is another rider to keep an eye on. Known for his sprinting prowess, De Lie has notched several top-ten finishes this season, including a strong showing at the Brussels Cycling Classic. Despite primarily being a sprinter, De Lie has shown versatility in handling rolling terrain and undulating courses. His ability to maintain a high pace on the flat and rolling stages makes him a significant contender for stage wins in the Tour de Suisse.

In 2024, De Lie has consistently been a presence in the final sprints of many one-day races and stage races. His notable performances include top finishes in the Classic Brugge-De Panne and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, where he showcased his ability to compete against some of the best sprinters in the world. De Lie’s explosive acceleration in the final meters of a race gives him a solid chance of claiming stage victories, especially on stages that end in a bunch sprint. His team will likely work to position him well in these stages, ensuring he is fresh for the crucial final sprints. De Lie’s consistent performance in one-day races and his powerful finishing kick make him a strong contender for stage wins in the Tour de Suisse.

Tom Pidcock

Tom Pidcock, riding for Ineos Grenadiers, has had an outstanding 2024. His win at the Amstel Gold Race was a highlight, where he out-sprinted Marc Hirschi and Tiesj Benoot. Pidcock’s versatility as a rider allows him to excel in various terrains, from punchy climbs to cobbled classics. His technical skills and resilience make him a strong candidate for overall victory at the Tour de Suisse.

Pidcock’s 2024 season has also included strong performances in several other races. He won the Shimano Supercup Massi La Nuca XCO, and finished fourth at Strade Bianche and tenth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He also had a strong showing at Tirreno-Adriatico, finishing ninth overall, and performed well in the early-season classics, with a seventh place at Nové Mesto XCO. Pidcock’s potential in the Tour de Suisse lies not only in his climbing ability but also in his tactical acumen and aggressive racing style. He can launch attacks on the climbs or time his efforts perfectly in breakaways. Pidcock’s ability to attack on climbs and his strength in time trials will be crucial in this race. With the support of a strong Ineos Grenadiers team, Pidcock has the tools and form to compete for the overall title.

Maxim Van Gils

Maxim Van Gils of Lotto Dstny has shown impressive form this year. His notable results in 2024 include a third place at the Faun Drome Classic, a fifth at the Faun-Ardèche Classic, and a fourth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He also secured a podium finish with a third place at La Flèche Wallonne and came second at the GP Miguel Indurain. Van Gils is known for his climbing capabilities, which will be essential in the mountainous stages of the Tour de Suisse. His ability to stay with the leading group on tough ascents and his tactical nous make him a strong contender.

In addition to these performances, Van Gils has shown consistency in other races, including top finishes in several prestigious one-day races. His tactical awareness and endurance in long, gruelling stages make him a rider to watch. With a combination of climbing prowess and race craft, Van Gils is expected to be a significant presence in the general classification battle at the Tour de Suisse.

Isaac Del Toro

Isaac Del Toro, a rising star from UAE Team Emirates, has been making waves with his consistent performances in stage races this year. His top results in 2024 include winning the overall classification at the Vuelta a Asturias, finishing fourth overall at Tirreno-Adriatico, and seventh overall at the Itzulia Basque Country. Del Toro’s strength lies in his climbing ability and endurance, crucial for the demanding stages of the Tour de Suisse.

Del Toro has shown promise in the early part of the 2024 season, with strong finishes in races like the Tour of the Alps and the Tour of Oman. His ability to perform well in high-altitude conditions and his resilience in long climbs make him an asset in the mountainous stages of the Tour de Suisse. Del Toro’s climbing abilities, combined with his capacity to recover quickly between stages, will be key to his success. His potential to surprise in breakaways and his resilience in long climbs make him a rider to watch closely. With a supportive team and a strategic approach, Del Toro has the potential to achieve significant results in this year’s race.

These riders bring a mix of experience, climbing prowess, and sprinting skills to the Tour de Suisse, promising an exciting and competitive race. Each has demonstrated their capability to perform at the highest level in 2024, setting the stage for a thrilling showdown in the Swiss Alps.