The Criterium du Dauphine is often touted as the warm-up race for the Tour de France, but the Tour de Suisse, which overlaps with the Dauphine, is also a favourite of those targeting Le Tour in July.

Rui Costa used the Tour de Suisse to great effect last year, winning the general classification in that race before going on to win two stages at Le Tour de France, both of them solo. He would seem to be in promising form ahead of this year’s Tour as well.

Of the big-name sprinters likely to feature at Le Tour, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) featured at the Tour de Suisse this year, with both riders winning a stage.

And while world time trial champion Tony Martin (OPQS) will only get one race against the clock to flex his muscle at this year’s Tour de France, he’ll go into that stage as one of the favourites. Martin won both ITTs at the Tour de Suisse, including the lumpy seventh stage which bears some similarity to the stage 20 ITT in this year’s Tour (despite the former being less than half the length).

Beyond his two stage victories at the Tour de Suisse, Martin rode well throughout to defend the overall lead he took on stage 1 all the way through to the final stage. This included an impressive seventh place on the summit finish to the ski resort of Verbier on stage 8, a stage won by Orica-GreenEdge’s Esteban Chaves.

But in the end it was Rui Costa who took his third Tour de Suisse title in a row after getting in a decisive breakaway on the final stage. He’ll be one of many exciting prospects to watch at this year’s Tour de France and you’d expect him to be targeting stage wins again.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the following images from this year’s Tour de Suisse.

Stage 9: Martigny > Saas-Fee - Stage Result

Sunday 22nd June 2014

1. pt
2. nl
Belkin-Pro Cycling Team
3. ch
FRANK Mathias
IAM Cycling