Algemeen Tour de Suisse kicks off: Maxim Van Gils and Arnaud De Lie look ahead

The final straight line towards the Tour de France has begun and traditionally it includes a stop in Switzerland. Today, the Tour de Suisse starts with a prologue in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. Maxim Van Gils (23) and Arnaud De Lie (21) look ahead.
Race 08 June 2024
A 4.8-kilometer warm-up in the city streets of the principality of Liechtenstein kicks off the Tour de Suisse today. The peloton then moves back into Swiss territory, with a finish on the Gotthard Pass and passages along Col de la Croix and Villars-sur-Ollon. The queen stage, where the Nufenen Pass would form the roof of this tour, has already been cut due to too much snow. Plan B, via the Furka Pass, also proved impossible. Stage six has therefore been shortened to just 43 kilometers.

The Tour de Suisse is traditionally one of the last multi-day events before the Tour de France begins. A dress rehearsal for riders like Maxim Van Gils and Arnaud De Lie. For De Lie, it’s his first time riding in Tour de Suisse: “I see this tour purely as an opportunity to gain experience, a sort of rehearsal for the Tour,” he looks ahead. “I’m curious. In the U23, I rode the Baby Giro and the Tour de l’Avenir, but here all the pieces have to fall into place, this is another level. I see two opportunities, at most. But I love Switzerland, it’s beautiful here- they have beautiful cows (laughs)- and I’m looking forward to discovering the country and gaining experience.”

Maxim Van Gils is also excited. He started his Swiss campaign with a victory in the GP Kanton Aargau, the traditional warm-up just before the Tour de Suisse really begins. “That was obviously a great start, continuing from where I left off in the first part of the season: winning,” he says. “I’m curious to see how I’ll feel in the mountains here, especially after the altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada. I haven’t really done any long climbs in a race yet this year. But if everything goes well, I’d like to aim for a good overall result here. Top ten, maybe top five would be nice. I see opportunities especially in the first two days. The 4.8-kilometer prologue… that’s my distance. I also won in the Ruta del Sol, over almost the same distance. I’m unbeaten in that (laughs). I’m definitely going to do my best. The second stage is more suited for punchers. In my youth, I was very good in the high mountains, still was in the U23, but now I’ve become more of a puncher. Who knows.”


Picture: Orbea