While the realisation of the Tour de Suisse Women occurred in a relatively short time, the idea is by no means new. When Swiss Cycling received the go-ahead in September 2018 to stage the 2020 Road World Championships in Aigle-Martigny and the 2024 Road World Championships in Zurich, the promotion of women’s cycling was at the top of the list of planned initiatives. In 2019, the cycling federation launched the #fastandfemaleSUI development project, with Federal Councillor Viola Amherd taking on the role of patron. The project is intended to appeal to all women and is geared towards ameteur sport; however, it also has a competitive component. This is where Swiss Cycling’s event strategy comes into play, the aim of which is to enable its own top athletes to perform at the highest level in front of a home crowd.
Until now competing in the Tour de Suisse was exclusively for men and, considering that gender equality is of the highest importance for Swiss Cycling, the Tour de Suisse Women initiative immediately landed on the list of projects to be implemented in connection with #fastandfemaleSUI. The fact that the women’s tour is making its debut just one and a half years after this project was founded is also due in part to the Corona pandemic, which made it impossible to hold the 2020 Road World Championships in Aigle-Martigny. The responsible committee of the National Council unanimously appealed to the Federal Council to award the public funds, available due to the cancellation, to Swiss Cycling for the development of women and youths cycling.
The idea is to hold a two-stage race on the opening weekend of the men’s Tour de Suisse around Frauenfeld and to expand it into a longer World Tour circuit over the coming years. On Saturday, the women will compete on an undulating circuit, and on Sunday they will complete the same time trial as the men. World teams with world-class riders as well as a selection of the Swiss national team will participate.
For Swiss Cycling, the premiere of the Tour de Suisse Women is a major step in the right direction towards gender equality. “We know full well that it should be a matter of course to have a national tour for women, given the social realities, and we are very happy to be able to hold the first edition,” states Co-President Patrick Hunger. “We are looking forward to the Women’s Field in Frauenfeld.”