Rally UHC Cycling arrived in Zurich, Switzerland, this week to compete in the biggest stage race in program history, the WorldTour ranked Tour de Suisse. Running from June 15 - 23, the race features epic snowy mountain passes and lush rolling valleys, highlighting Switzerland’s natural beauty across nine stages and 1,172 km of racing.
Over its 82-year history, the Tour de Suisse has stood as the final proving ground ahead of the Tour de France. Bookended by a pair of time trials, the race offers sprint opportunities early and mountaintop finishes late, requiring a roster capable of tackling mixed terrain and styles of racing.
Leading the way for Rally UHC Cycling in the opening stages are sprinters Colin Joyce and Ryan Anderson. Robin Carpenter, a proven breakaway specialist, will help in the leadout while also chasing top stage honors from the breakaway. For the mountains, the team brings a focused, three-pronged GC attack with Brandon McNulty, Rob Britton, and Gavin Mannion. To round out the squad is WorldTour veteran and road captain Svein Tuft.
One rider in particular that’s looking forward to racing in the Tour de Suisse is Brandon McNulty. The 21-year-old former Junior World Time Trial Champion captured the cycling public’s hearts earlier this season when he became the first American to win the Giro di Sicilia in its 42-year history.
McNulty came down with the flu shortly following April’s La Flèche Wallonne and instead of chasing a top-five finish at the Amgen Tour of California, was forced to withdraw on the queen stage to Mt. Baldy.
“TOC was a bit of a disaster and I had to take over a week off the bike,” said McNulty. “I just had to reset physically and mentally. Sometimes doing nothing is the best training. At this point, I’m happy to be feeling normal again and look forward to racing in Switzerland with my teammates.”
When the news of the team’s Tour de Suisse invitation came out in January, performance director Jonas Carney told VeloNews in an interview, “we may just have to be super aggressive, go out and try to make the race and just swing for the fences.”
Since that time, Rally UHC Cycling has experienced an unprecedented amount of success. From McNulty’s stage win and overall GC victory in Sicily to Robin Carpenter’s KOM-winning performance in the recent SKODA-Tour de Luxembourg, the team’s attitude has shifted from underdog status to one to watch.
“I think we have a nice mix of riders and can do a lot of things at this race,” said McNulty. “Robin is riding super strong and fills a lot of roles. Randy and Colin will contest the sprints, Rob, Gavin, and I will take a run at the GC, and daddy Svein will keep both riders and directors in line to make sure we don’t do anything too silly.”
Stage 1 ✩ Langnau i.E. – Langnau i.E. (9.5 km), Flat time trial
Stage 2 ✩✩✩ Langnau i.E. – Langnau i.E. (159.6 km), Hilly circuit, sprint
Stage 3 ✩✩ Flamatt – Murten (162.3 km), Flattest road stage, sprint likely
Stage 4 ✩✩✩ Murten – Arlesheim (163.9 km), hilly late, descent to finish
Stage 5 ✩✩✩ Münchenstein – Einsiedeln (177.0 km), hilly, sprint or breakaway
Stage 6 ✩✩✩✩ Einsiedeln – Flumserberg (120.2 km), mountain top finish
Stage 7 ✩✩✩✩✩ Unterterzen – San Gottardo (216.6 km), mountain top finish
Stage 8 ✩✩ Goms – Goms (19.2 km), flat time trial
Stage 9 ✩✩✩✩✩ Goms – Goms (144.4 km), queen stage w/3 HC climbs
Key: Difficulty (Easy=✩, Hard=✩✩✩✩✩)
Tour de Suisse roster
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Rally UHC Cycling earned an invitation to the most prestigious day of racing on the women’s calendar, La Course by Le Tour de France. The team received one of only five wildcard spots available and returns to the race for the first time in four years. Described as a ‘puncheurs’ course, it will suit those riders with raw power.
Over the past few seasons, Rally UHC Cycling has created one of the best traditions in all of pro cycling. Each year at the Tour of California, the team creates several unique, custom-painted race bikes for select riders. They're then auctioned off with all proceeds going towards an incredible charity.
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