Course PreviewStage 6: Oberriet - Bad Zurzach
Date: Thursday, 18 June
Distance: 178.0 km
Terrain: Lumpy but one for the sprinters.
GC Importance: An effective rest day for the GC contenders. This is one for the sprinters.
Details: After the previous day’s trip through the tough the Austrian Tyrol, today’s stage returns to Switzerland with a stage start in the border town of Oberriet. The route for the stage is not overly challenging and there is a high probability that the peloton will not wish to race early and leave and leave a small break go.
The first and main obstacle of the day comes immediately at the start when the riders will tackle the 10km 2nd category climb of the Hölzlisberg. Over the 10km the riders will gain almost 500m over the 5% average gradient. Once over the top the parcours gradually loses altitude over rolling countryside roads through the towns of Appenzell (at 14km), Herisau (26km), and Wil (50km). If a break is away at this stage, expect the bunch to roll along.
The first real action could be expected as the peloton arrives in Winterthur after 80km where the first intermediate sprint will take place on the outskirts of the town.
The feed comes at 92km in the town of Embrach just before the riders hit one of the frequent short but difficult climbs that speckle the back end of the stage. The climb to Eschenmosen lasts just 2km but gains 100m in altitude. As the climb immediately follows the feed, there may not be a severe reaction.
At 121km the riders arrive in Bad Zurzach and commence the first of two circuits of a 28km finishing circuit. The start of the circuit is marked by the category 3 climb to the Zurziberg, a 2km climb that brings the peloton up another 100m in altitude before the route drops back down over the remainder of the circuit.
The climb should not upset the riders too much, particularly the sprinters who will be thirsting for a bunch gallop at the end of the stage. The climb is also too early in the final lap to provide an opportune launch platform for some riders who may try to use the steep slopes of the Zurziberg to get clear for victory. — Edward Madden — Gavia (updates to this preview will be made during the race and especially the day before the stage with current analysis)<-->