Gruezi! What is the Swiss most famous for?
a) Chocolate b) Cycling wear?
For a reason I could not find historic chocolate but I found three jersey. One was made by Swiss people, one was made for a Swiss team, one was designed in Switzerland.
Although we did not get an invitation to start the Tour de Swiss I decided to do a pre-ride of the final stage of this years edition: the ITT Liestal-Liestal. I packed my ITT travel bike with more Aero spokes than anybody else. 64 spokes manufactured manually. Also with Aero saddle!
Also I packed my old travel guide I found in the late eighties in a dust bin close to an etape village, there it says Liestal is about 10 miles to the south-east from Sandoz and Solvay, sorry of course I mean 10 miles south-east of Basel. (You can tell from the name Solvay this is an older travel guide as the company was renamed in 1991)
Basically this ITT is a power course: From 330 metres a 10 km uphill to 530 m followed by a 15 km downhill. First section to Hölstein is just pure power on a wide street. In Hölstein turn left in front of this building.
Just in case your team car broke down, stop and go to the bakery and refill your water bottle as well. While still refilling my bottle a Swiss guy turned into the street. So I took up the pursuit and clawed back most of his advantage on a false flat. Almost got him, a left-right combination showed up, which was a) rather steep and b) had some orthogonal lined surface. (Most likely this will be the one place someone will use the small ring) So I lost some ground did not manage to catch him on the following false flat before the downhill started. Hmm, a Swiss guy dropping a Belgian, in an area of fine mechanical production...hmm dèjá vu.
Anyway the downhill to Sissach was fine, wide roads and chain all the way to the right, just pure power, most likely one will see 55-11 used. Hopefully the riders will be allowed to use the motorway and not end up like me in the last century.
So in total everything fine? Well almost. Instead of bypassing the first village Bubendorf I went through and so after 5 miles I was told being in the wrong valley. But no problem the lady said, just turn left in the village. So I will include two views the riders will miss on race day: like a complex rubbish sorting system or the church in the valley below you, as the climb from Reigoldswil to Oberdorf is much steeper than what is used in the ITT.
Are still with me? Fine. Of course Switzerland is not about chocolate or clothing or silly mountains. Forget about all that. It is simple the five letter word: MONEY. Special accounts, donations to the ...well You know, what I'm thinking about. At the finish of the ITT in Liestal there are banks so you can pay in the money just earned. The reason I turned right INTO Bubendorf could be related to a note in this travel guide: bank in village centre.
Have You ever asked Yourself why over sized stems where invented? That picture should give You an ides, just call it improved capacity. Also most riders use metal stems, because in an X-ray picture the metal should absorb enough energy that the notes can not be detected. The minimum is the Ritchey Composite, having at least some metal inside.