To mark the 50th anniversary of women’s suffrage, the Tour de Suisse is launching a women’s edition of the Tour de Suisse on the opening weekend in Frauenfeld. The challenge now is to finance the event.
„I am very pleased that women can compete in their own Tour de Suisse in June” says Federal Minister for Sport Viola Amherd. „I am sure that female cyclists will deliver exciting races that will inspire us all. If the media covers the women’s cycling races comprehensively, girls will see how appealing this sport is for women and this will encourage them to also take part in such races. Holding the stage race alongside the men’s Tour de Suisse is an important step towards equality for women in sport and contributes to the continued development of women’s cycling in Switzerland.”
Tour de Suisse director Olivier Senn also emphasises the historical significance of the event: “The launch of the Tour de Suisse Women is not only a very important step in the further evolution of the Tour de Suisse itself, but also for the development of cycling in Switzerland in general.
It is a step that should have been taken a long time ago. We are now all the more proud to be able to send out a positive signal in these difficult times!”
The first edition of the Tour de Suisse Women begins on Saturday 5 June at the Start Hub in Frauenfeld. A hilly circuit – the same as the 2nd stage of the Tour de Suisse 2018 – is scheduled. Competitors will complete the interesting circuit three times.
The following day, the second stage of the TdS Women takes place on the men’s time trial course. Staged in the morning, the course covers 98 kilometres (10 laps).
The first edition of the TdS Women will be held as a UCI 2.1 stage race, including the usual special classifications of mountain prize, points classification, young rider classification as well as stage winner.
Around 17 female cycling teams will compete in Frauenfeld for the first edition, including 4 World Tour teams. Two selections of Swiss Cycling athletes will also participate in the inaugural event.
Both women’s races will be broadcast nationally and internationally as 90-minute live TV productions.
“The classic men’s Tour de Suisse is well established and renowned in Switzerland. Women’s cycling can now benefit from this. That’s why I am highly motivated to participate in the women’s edition here in Switzerland!
It is an honour for me to be one of the first women to compete in this new event, particularly as Swiss Champion in my national jersey,” Elise Chabbey, Swiss Road Champion, proudly states.
Chabbey’s colleague Marlen Reusser, Swiss Time Trial Champion, also stresses the importance of a national women’s race: “I am confident that with an event like the TdS Women, many more young women and girls will be won over by the fascination for cycling. I think this is a very important factor to really boost women’s cycling.”
The vision of the TdS is to develop the women’s race to 5 stages over the next few years. It is also striving to obtain a classification at the highest international race level, the Women’s WorldTour. In this way the Tour de Suisse will consolidate its position as the flagship of Swiss cycling.
“I am very pleased that from this edition of the Tour de Suisse, women will also be competing. It is an important message from the Organisers, Swiss Cycling and Switzerland to support and promote women’s cycling and put it where it belongs – on an equal footing with the men!
For us professional male cyclists, the races in Switzerland are an incredibly important platform. We benefit from a great amount of recognition – which you don’t get as a professional cyclist at any other race. Women’s cycling has lacked this platform until now,” Stefan Küng, Swiss Road & Time Trial Champion, emphasises.
“For a long time, a women’s edition – despite all the good will and understanding for the urgent need for such an event – has failed due to financial issues. Staging a second race is a huge challenge logistically and financially. As well, the current pandemic is not helpful in this regard. We are glad that our sponsors share the commitment of the Tour de Suisse and Swiss Cycling to women’s cycling and support us in launching a Women’s National Tour,” adds Olivier Senn, TdS Director.
The Federal Government has reacted positively to Swiss Cycling’s proposal that the unused funds for the cancelled Road World Championships 2020 in Aigle-Martigny should remain in cycling and be used for the promotion of young talent and women’s cycling. However, the funding of the Tour de Suisse Women has not yet been secured definitively at this point in time.
As soon as the amount of the available federal funding is known, Swiss Cycling and the Federal Office of Sport will jointly determine the projects in which the money will be invested. Around 300,000 Swiss francs is required to fund the first Tour de Suisse Women.
The presenting partner of the TdS, Vaudoise Versicherungen, will also be the Presenting Partner of the TdS Women. Primeo Energie will honour the Best Young Male cyclist as well as the Best Young Female. Tissot as timekeeper and various other sponsors have also already confirmed their support. With Supersapiens.com a new sponsor comes on board and will award the Points Classification jersey and the Stage Winners at the TdS Women. The start-up company from the USA joins as official partner for athletes’ energy management and will also crown Stage Winners in the men’s race.The Supersapiens app, powered by the Abbott Libre Sense Biosensor, is the world’s first Glucose sport Biosensor designed for athletes. The Partner for the Mountain Prize classifications of the women’s and men’s races has also already been found but will not be communicated by the end of May.
At the moment it is impossible to make exact predictions about the effects of the pandemic on the Tour de Suisse and therefore on the TdS Women event in June 2021. For months, the Organising Committee has been in close contact with all the organisations and authorities concerned. Due to the rapidly changing situation, it is impossible to make concrete statements about the way the event will be held. Details will be specified in the coming days and weeks in cooperation with the authorities and will be communicated accordingly.
Similarly, the approval permits from the municipalities concerned are still outstanding at the present time. All necessary applications have been submitted.