2023 Tour de Suisse Stage 2 Preview

Beromünster > Nottwil 174km

Given this year’s route, this stage could be the only one that ends in a bunch sprint, but will all the sprinters survive the final climb? All eyes will be on Tim Merlier, can the other teams either drop him or take something out of his sprint?


Hot and sunny.

The Climb

It doesn’t look much but the opening 1.2km averages 7%, before a flat section, then the final kilometre averages 5%. From the crest there’s 24km to go.


Straight! The road is two lanes wide; it’s not going to be easy to move up the bunch, a good early position is recommended.


All about the final climb. Most of the sprinters here fall into the climbing sprinter category, Merlier is the exception, but he’s not too bad on hills like this. The key is the opening kilometre of the climb, that’s where damage can be done, I expect some to lift the pace. The problem they’ll have is if Merlier loses around 20s on the climb, that can be made up soon after, but it will cost him in the sprint. 

Once we get into the final 5km, getting to the front early is the right move, but that needs a sprint train. Soudal – Quick Step, Alpecin-Deceuninck and Intermarché all seem strong in that department, they’ll be looking to boss the finale. 


Tim Merlier – the man they’ll all be scared of. Soudal – Quick Step will control the break, but they’ll be wary of the final climb, it’s important Merlier starts it at the head of the bunch and the team will hope the initial ramps are taken at their speed. Once into the finale, I expect everyone to be involved in the lead out, that’s right folks, we could get to see Remco smash it in the final 2km, before handing over to Schmid and Van Lerberghe. Merlier has enjoyed a fine start to his career at the team, in particular, he loves winning the opening stage of big races. So far this year, he’s won the first stage in Oman, UAE and Paris-Nice, that’s some record. Can he add the Tour de Suisse to that list?

Kaden Groves – the first part of his season has been brilliant, his move to Alpecin has been an enormous success. He pulled out of the Giro on 18th May, any issues he had should be behind him by now. He’s got a strong lead out at this race, but it seems to be lacking a recognised final man, which could be an issue as he’s had problems with positioning in the past.

Biniam Girmay – Smith, Petit, and Teunissen, I love the look of this sprint train. Intermarché are one of the teams who’ll make the climb hard for the pure sprinters, Girmay would normally struggle to beat Merlier in a sprint. Winning will be hard, a good lead out is needed if he wants to cross the line first.

Wout Van Aert – due to other commitments, he’s only been involved in one bunch sprint this season. As you all know, this is a rider who can win bunch sprints in the Tour de France, I expect him to be involved in the finale of this stage. He doesn’t have the longest lead out, but Mick Van Dijke is fast developing into an excellent final man. I’m looking forward to seeing how fast Wout is just now.

Arnaud Démare – recent form has been good, and it seems that Miles Scotson has been moved into position 2 in his sprint train. They’ll have Sam Watson in front of them, which makes a strong group of three riders. Démare won his last race, confidence is key for a sprinter. 

Peter Sagan – can he roll back the clock? The great man loves this race, he’s taken 18 stage wins since 2011, an incredible record. It’s his last year, at times it’s looked like he’s been coasting towards retirement, but his performance in Dunkirk has given me some hope. It would be great to see him winning again.

Jordi Meeus – the big Belgian sprinter is one who always seems to impress me, despite not always having a lot of support. In this race he will have help, Koch and Haller will provide support in the finale. He’s come close to winning in recent races, he’d love to get his first world tour win this week.

Marius Mayrhofer – didn’t threaten a win at the Giro but played a big part the day Dainese won. The German is fast but will struggle against those already mentioned. 

Edward Theuns – doesn’t have much help for the finale, which means he needs some luck to start the sprint in a good position. 

Dan McLay – 4th place is his best result of the year; he’ll be hoping to go better than that in this stage. His lead out isn’t great, something he’s been used to over the years, but he has the speed required to threaten the top 3.

Prediction Time

The pace will be high on the final climb, but I don’t think they’ll manage to drop Merlier.

Embed from Getty Images

He loves an opening stage; I’ll take another win for Tim Merlier.