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Kirsten Frattini

Tour de Suisse Women 2024 - Analysing the contenders

Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek), Demi Vollering (SD Worx-Protime) and Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM).

After back-to-back races at RideLondon Classique and Tour of Britain Women, the top-tier peloton returns to racing in Europe for the four-day Tour de Suisse Women held from June 15-18.

The stronger climbers of the peloton will return to racing in Switzerland as many of them had competed in the more mountainous stages races in Spain in early May before taking time out to recover during the sprinter-friendly events on British soil.

The Tour de Suisse might not be the most mountainous event on the calendar, but it is a challenging route that will likely see the pure climbers and powerful breakaway specialists excel. With a mid-race time trial also on the menu, there is all to play for across the four days of racing which, for many, will also provide a building block toward the longer stage races of the Giro d'Italia Women in July and the Tour de France Femmes in August.

Cyclingnews looks at the riders to watch in the fourth edition of the Tour de Suisse Women.

Demi Vollering (SD Worx-Protime)

Demi Vollering (Image credit: Getty Images)

Defending champion Marlen Reusser has opted to skip the Tour de Suisse Women this year, but SD Worx-Protime still field the outright favourite in Demi Vollering.

The Dutch Champion finished second overall in last year's edition and has the strength and experience to give her team a second consecutive victory. She comes into the race recovered from her back-to-back wins at Vuelta España Femenina, Itzulia Women, and Vuelta a Burgos, with the aim being to keep her winning streak alive.

It is also the first test of the next phase of the season, which all point toward her major targets at the Olympic Games and the Tour de France Femmes. In fact, Vollering has recently returned from previewing all eight stages, including Alpe d'Huez, while travelling across France on a training holiday in her camper.

The course is also well-suited to Vollering, who has proven her ability to succeed across hilly terrain, time trials and in the mountains. It would not be surprising if SD Worx-Protime dominated in all four stages and won the overall classification.

Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM)

Elise Chabbey (Image credit: Getty Images)

Elise Chabbey gives her home crowds a real contender to cheer for at the Tour de Suisse Women. She finished second overall in 2021 and fifth last year.

Chabbey's success at the Tour de Suisse Women has grown from her strength and ability to read a race and join the most decisive breakaways, and she often zeros in on gaining points toward special categories such as the mountain classification.

It would not be surprising to see Chabbey race in a similar fashion this year. Even while potentially working in a support role for her teammate Kasia Niewiadoma, the rider who last month finished in the top five at both Vuelta a Burgos and Itzulia Women could land herself a stage win and another top placing in the overall classification. 

Chabbey might be somewhat of a wildcard for Canyon-SRAM, but her consistency lies in her determination to race aggressively, roll the dice, and make the most of every stage.

Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek)

Elisa Longo Borghini (Image credit: Getty Images)

The Italian Champion returns to the Tour de Suisse Women after finishing third last year behind SD Worx teammates Reusser and Vollering. She took a month-long break from competition following the Vuelta España Femenina and so will be somewhat of a wildcard, too.

Even if she is not at her best, Longo Borghini will undoubtedly race for both stages and general classification. She has a solid team to support her aggressive style of racing, including Brodie Chapman and Amanda Spratt, and the squad also has a pure climber in Gaia Realini.

While it is a top-tier event, the four days of racing offer somewhat of a gauge for Longo Borghini to test her form on the hills, in a time trial, and against some of her main rivals in bigger events up ahead.

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-SUEZ)

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Image credit: Getty Images)

FDJ-SUEZ will have two major cards to play with Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Évita Muzic. Uttrup Ludwig only recently returned to racing at the Vuelta a Burgos after taking three months off to recover from a fractured sacrum.

She recently competed at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and appears to be on her way to rebuilding her form toward objectives later in the summer. The Tour de Suisse should provide a good indication of where her strengths are and what she needs to improve on before tackling events like the Giro d'Italia Women and the Tour de France Femmes.

Muzic could be the more likely contender for the overall classification at this point, having shown promising results earlier this year; fourth at Flèche Wallonne, fifth at Vuelta España Femenina and second at Vuelta a Burgos.

She recently expressed her disappointment over not being selected by the French team to compete at the Olympic Games, and so Muzic will undoubtedly want to make the most of the top-tier stage racing with her trade team FDJ-SUEZ.

Juliette Labous (dsm-firmenich PostNL)

Juliette Labous (Image credit: Getty Images)

Juliette Labous earned a spot on the French team for the Olympic Games and so her performance at the Tour de Suisse will likely be one of the first steps toward Paris.

She has had one of her best seasons so far, with a fourth overall at Vuelta España Femenina and third overall at Itzulia Women. Like many of her rivals, Labous took a long break after competing in the Ardennes Classics and Spanish stage races and is likely recovered and ready to begin rebuilding her form.

Team dsm-firmenich PostNL will go all-in for Labous with a powerful support team on the climbs of Becky Storrie, Nienke Vinke, and Eglantine Rayer.

She has also honed in on her time trial strength, so watch for her to gain time in the overall classification on stage 2, while holding her own against the likes of Vollering and Longo Borghini across the challenging hills in Switzerland.

Kristen Faulkner (EF Education-Cannondale)

Kristen Faulkner (Image credit: Getty Images)

EF Education-Cannondale is having a successful debut season, with the new Continental outfit turning heads in nearly every race they enter. The team has multiple riders to watch, including another home favourite, Noemi Rüegg, American Kristen Faulkner and New Zealand's Kim Cadzow.

Rüegg won the first race of the season for the team at Trofeo Felanitx-Colònia de Sant Jordi, and then went on to place second at Trofeo Binissalem-Andratx, eighth at Durango - Durango Emakumeen Saria and sixth overall at Vuelta a Burgos.

Her teammate Faulkner has equally shined, winning Omloop van het Hageland, taking two stage wins and second overall at Trofeo Ponente in Rosa, a stage win and 12th overall at Vuelta España Femenina and victory in the road race and second in the time trial at the USA Pro Road Championships. Faulkner also has ample experience at the Tour de Suisse Women, having finished second overall behind Lucinda Brand in 2022 after one of the most exciting races of that season.

Then there is Cadzow, who was 17th overall when she debuted at the race last year but since then the relative newcomer to the peloton has shown considerable growth.  Apart from winning New Zealand's time trial title and the Trofeo Ponente in Rosa the 22 year old has delivered a sixth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and top ten overall at Vuelta España Femenina.

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