SpiderTech earns wildcard to Tour de Suisse

Bauer returns to Switzerland as Canadian squad pulls biggest race invite to date

Team SpiderTech earned a coup today as Tour de Suisse officials confirmed the Canadian-backed team run by Steve Bauer has earned a wildcard berth for the 2012 edition.

The invitation is the most important so far for the SpiderTech team and marks an important milestone in the team’s long-term development. Speaking on the team’s website, Bauer welcomed the news.

“It is our first opportunity on the WorldTour in Europe.  It gives our team a focus for early summer and pushes our team on all fronts to reach to this higher level of competition and prestige,” Bauer said. “After Amgen Tour of California, the Tour de Suisse is perfectly positioned for us on the calendar.”

SpiderTech is already slated to race California, the Tour of Turkey and the Giro del Trentino, all top-caliber races, but the Tour de Suisse will mark the team’s first entrée to the WorldTour beyond North America.

Race officials cited the presence of Swiss pro Raymond Künzli and experienced European pro Brian Vandborg as well as up-and-coming Americans Caleb Fairly and Bjorn Selander as reasons for awarding the prestigious wildcard invitation.

The return to the race will be special for Bauer, who is the only Canadian to ever win a stage in what’s considered the fourth-most important stage race in Europe behind the three grand tours.

Bauer won the “queen stage” and finished second overall in 1988.

Bauer said the team won’t bring a GC-caliber rider and instead will focus on breakaways and stage wins to leave its mark on the mountainous, nine-stage race set for June 9-17.

“The team will need to be focused on the task, be prepared to go into breakaways and take some risk while keeping a reserve of confidence in the riders on our team who can challenge in a strong man sprint or surprise in breakaways,” Bauer said. “We should not race for general classification but shoot for goals and prizes within the races.  Stage results, animating breaks, grab one of the classification jerseys for a day or two.”

SpiderTech is the first of four likely wildcard invitations for the Swiss tour.