The 59th edition of the Grosser Preis des Kantons Aargau is set to take place in Gippingen, part of the municipality of Leuggern, in the Swiss canton of Argovia, starting this Friday, June 9. The race spans 175.3 km and follows a challenging course. Riders will tackle four laps of an 8.1 km flat circuit and seven laps of a 20.2 km circuit, which includes two significant climbs: Schlatt berg (3.09 km at 5.1%) and Rotberg (6.95 km at 3.9%). With the final ascent occurring 6.8 km before the finish, the course presents a selective and demanding terrain that may pose a challenge for pure sprinters aiming for victory.
“This race can offer an opportunity to different kinds of riders, but with a challenging long lap to repeat 7 times, the fast men can face some difficulties to arrive fresh at the sprint”, SD Roman Kreuziger explains. “In our lineup, there won’t be a pure sprinter, but a fast rider like Nikias Arndt, who will be our road captain and his skills on this kind of terrain can let him take his chance. We will see how the race will unfold as our leader will be Pello Bilbao, returning to racing after over a month. We think that the explosive finale can suit him. Almost all our riders are back to competition after several weeks without racing, especially Antonio Tiberi; it will be an absolute debut with the team. For everybody, it will be important to use this race to get in the race pace before the other big appointment, the Tour de Suisse”.
Following the GP des Kantons Aargau, the team’s lineup will also participate in the Tour de Suisse, an eight-day WorldTour stage race that commences on Sunday, June 11, and concludes on Sunday, June 18. Covering more than 1000 kilometres and featuring over 18,000 meters of altitude, the race promises a challenging course.
“We are in Switzerland; you can’t expect much of a flat course. And this edition, in particular, is not so favourable to pure sprinters.” Kreuziger comments, “The race will open and close with an individual time trial, and both stages can be decisive for the General Classification. For this reason, we want our riders to be immediately focused from the first day. Our leaders Pello Bilbao and the home rider Gino Mäder are both good time trialists. We expect they will ride for a top result in the ITT to compete for the GC right from the start. We also have other riders with excellent TT skills, like Johan Price Pejtersen, Fran Miholjevic and Filip Maciejuk. Therefore we hope to start on the right foot.
The day after, the stage can offer a good chance to Nikias Arndt, while stage 3, with the first uphill finish, will give some more signals about the shape of the GC men, although it’s not a complicated stage. Day 4 should be another opportunity for the breakaway to arrive, with again a GC fight behind the day’s attackers on the eve of this year’s Queen stage: 211 kilometres and 4.700 metres of altitude difference on the menu that feature the climbing of the classical alpine passes, like Furka, Oberalp and Albula. Let’s see if our GC guys, Pello and Gino, will still have the legs on stage 5 to contest the explosive uphill finish. We will aim with Nikias also stage 7, where a reduced group is expected to reach the finish line.
We want to hunt stages with different riders, although our priority is the General Classification, where we aim for a top 5 result. But seeing one of our riders onto the final podium is realistic. Results aside, the Tour de Suisse will be a crucial warm-up ahead of the Tour de France for some of our riders, especially Pello Bilbao, who is looking to build up his shape. Moreover, the Swiss stage race will also offer the chance to our latest joiner Antonio Tiberi to gain confidence and be integrated into the new team. We will look at him with interest: he’s a classy young talent and still has to show his full potential. He will ride without pressure and in support of our leaders. We’re sure everybody in the team will welcome him warmly and help him to join the new group with enthusiasm and good team spirit”.