In this year’s Road Team Time Trial Mixed Relay, Switzerland is positioning itself as the final team to launch from the starting ramp. Their aspiration is to clinch victory in the event for the second consecutive year.
The seasoned team, consisting of Stefan Bissegger, Stefan Küng, Mauro Schmid, Élise Chabbey, Nicole Koller, and Marlen Reusser, claimed the championship title collectively in 2022. The camaraderie and shared experience from the previous year could prove pivotal in the race today.
Chabbey shared her optimism, stating, “Our chances are quite promising. With the same cohesive team as last year and a course that aligns with our technical strengths, we’re in a favorable position. Our male team members contribute significant strength, and our goal is to uphold our title.”
Switzerland’s ambitions extend beyond the Mixed Relay event, as they target podium finishes in the individual time trials later in the week. Notably, Marlen Reusser, Stefan Küng, and Stefan Bissegger are all accomplished time trialists. Chabbey and Reusser will lead the Swiss charge in the women’s road race.
Chabbey, grappling with an illness, may potentially sacrifice her own opportunities to provide support for her fellow countrywoman. She acknowledged, “Marlen is a prominent contender for the ITT. She’s prepared for both the individual time trial and the road race. My personal condition isn’t optimal due to a bout of illness during the Tour de France Femmes.”
Determined to regain her strength, Chabbey added, “I’m putting in every effort to recover in time. I’ll assess my condition this week. If I’m not operating at full capacity, I won’t assume a leadership role. In that scenario, I’ll wholeheartedly support Marlen’s pursuit of victory for Switzerland.”
Chabbey’s unique perspective on competing while unwell is intriguing. She and Reusser are both qualified medical doctors, a remarkable coincidence considering they are the top female cyclists from Switzerland. Their journey into professional cycling began independently despite their shared medical background.
Chabbey elaborated, “Marlen and I were acquainted only later in our paths. We pursued our studies at different institutions and times. However, it’s heartening to observe that our educational backgrounds and relatively late entries into cycling haven’t hindered our performance at this elite level.”
“Both Marlen and I were active in other athletic pursuits before transitioning to cycling. This journey wasn’t a sudden leap; rather, it was a result of connecting with the right people at the opportune moments and subsequently joining a team to showcase our potential.”
Reflecting on the nature of cycling, Chabbey noted, “Cycling is a sport that accommodates latecomers due to its less technical demands during the early stages. Nevertheless, the sport is progressively becoming more professional. Starting early does confer advantages in terms of endurance, an aspect I’m still working to refine.”