Road

Michael Albasini delays retirement, plans to ride Tour de Suisse route

Mitchelton-Scott captain wants to end career on road, not on sidelines due to race disruption.

Swiss veteran Michael Albasini had planned to retire following his home race, the 2020 Tour de Suisse.

Albasini is 39 and he started his professional career way back in 2003.

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the Tour de Suisse to cancel its 2020 edition, Albasini and his Mitchelton-Scott squad have decided on a new sendoff. Albasini will ride the Tour de Suisse route, with friends and other sports people accompanying him during the ride and his family following him in a support caravan.

And then, the Swiss veteran will race with Mitchelton-Scott for the remainder of 2020 and hang up his cleats following the season.

“I will still do the Tour de Suisse. It’s not a race anymore, but I am still going to see all of the stages and it’s still a lot of riding,” Albasini said. “It’ll be like a good bike trip with friends that change day-by day.”

Albasini plans to ride eight stages of the race on the original dates of the 2020 event; the Tour de Suisse was slated to run June 7-14. In total he will complete more than 1,000 kilometers of riding. The size of his riding group will depend on Swiss government regulations on social distancing.

“I will have company every stage, which makes it even more fun. I will have friends, other sportspeople from all different sports, and will have a stage with some former Swiss pro cyclists,” Albasini said. “I still want to finish my career with a number on my back, so I will continue after summer when the season restarts. I will still do the Tour de Suisse. It’s not a race anymore, but I am still going to see all of the stages and it’s still a lot of riding.”

The 39-year-old Albasini has been working with Mitchelton-Scott sport director Matt White to design a new race program for the remainder of the season, as a send-off for a successful career. Albasini scored 18 wins in his last eight seasons with Mitchelton-Scott. The team has yet to release the full schedule for Albasini’s final season.

“This pandemic canceled all of my plans; the retirement plan but also the holiday plans I had with my family, so because of that, if I cannot have the holidays, I want to at least finish my career with a real race,” Albasini said.