Züri-Metzgete

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Züri-Metzgete
Race details
Date Early October
Region Zürich, Switzerland
English name Championship of Zürich
Local name(s) Züri-Metzgete (Zürich German)
Meisterschaft von Zürich (in German)
Discipline Road race
Competition
Type One-day
History
First edition 1914 (1914)
Editions 91
Final edition 2006
First winner  Henri Rheinwald (SUI)
Most wins  Heiri Suter (SUI) (6 wins)
Final winner  Samuel Sánchez (ESP)

Züri-Metzgete (Zürich German; English: Championship of Zürich; German: Meisterschaft von Zürich) was a European Classic cycle race held annually in Zürich, Switzerland, and continued as a non-professional mass participation event from 2007 until 2014.[1] It was a race with a long history dating back to 1914, on a demanding course in the hilly region around Zürich. In its heyday the race was considered the sixth monument of cycling, alongside the five most prestigious one-day races on the calendar (Milan–San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris–Roubaix, Liège–Bastogne–Liège and the Tour of Lombardy). It was the most prominent of the summer classics.

The Züri-Metzgete was included in every edition of the former UCI Road World Cup which ran from 1989–2004, and a leg of the inaugural UCI ProTour in 2005. In 2005 the race was moved to the end of the season for the first time in its history. The 2007 edition of the race was canceled after organizers failed to attract enough sponsors in the wake of several doping scandals in international cycling.[2] In 2008, the race was held on September 7, but the format has been changed to an amateur competition.

History and background[edit]

The Züri-Metzgete was first held in 1914 and has been held annually since 1917, including the second World War years, giving it the longest continued existence of any of cycling's major races. Originally, the race was billed as "Meisterschaft von Zürich" (Championship of Zurich), and this designation is still being used in some places. However, the colloquial expression "Züri Metzgete" soon became popular and has long been adapted by the organisers themselves and also by the UCI. "Züri" is Swiss dialect for Zurich. "Metzgete" (from "metzgern", to butcher) is a dialect word as well and a tongue-in-cheek reference to the supposedly ruthless character of the race. (Originally, a "Metzgete" is a special form of agricultural festivity usually held in autumn when farmers had to reduce their livestock to get through the winter. The fresh meat was then sold and distributed in barbecue-like village festivals.)

For many years the event was held in early May, not an ideal date as the majority of the top classic riders were jaded after contesting the “Monuments” in March and April. Also during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s the race was often held the day after the Rund um den Henninger Turm in Frankfurt and this affected the quality of the field and the racing. In 1988 the race was switched to a date in mid August which attracted many of the Tour de France stars and gave the race a new lease of life. The 2005 edition of the race has been switched to yet another new date in early October, as the UCI rearranged the cycling calendar to bring the World Championships a few weeks earlier in the season.

In the early days, the Züri-Metzgete was dominated by home riders with the race being won on 34 occasions by the Swiss in the first 41 editions of the race between 1914 and 1956. The most notable foreign winner in this period was Gino Bartali. In 1946, the Italian beat arch rival Fausto Coppi in a contentious race, the two Italians rode together at a breakneck pace shaking off all their rivals with Bartali winning in controversial circumstances, sprinting away while Coppi was tightening his toe straps. Many people say this incident was the start of the “war” between Bartali and Coppi. That 1946 race was won at an average speed of 42.228 km/h, a record speed which stood for over 50 years. Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha won the 2004 edition of the race in a record average speed of 42.707 km/h.

Many of the Swiss winners at this time never went on to win another major race but two of Switzerland’s greatest riders Ferdinand Kübler (1943) and Hugo Koblet (1952 and 1954) were triumphant at Zürich in this era, another Swiss Henri Suter set the record for the most victories at six between 1919 and 1929. After 1956 the race winners have become more international with only five Swiss winners in this period compared to 15 victories for Italy and 13 for Belgium. The quality of the race winners has been very high with classic specialists such as Paolo Bettini, Francesco Moser, Roger De Vlaeminck, Freddy Maertens, Giuseppe Saronni and Johan Museeuw all winning while the switch to an August date in 1988 allowed Tour de France riders such as Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich and Laurent Dufaux to do well in the race.

The route[edit]

The present day race starts and finishes in Zürich, in previous years the finish was on the Oerlikon velodrome in Zürich but that was abandoned a number of years ago. The race is held over a distance of 241 km with over 3000 metres of climbing, consisting of one 72.5 km lap and four 42.1 km circuits, this shorter lap includes four ascents of both the Pfannenstiel and Forch climbs, the final climb of the Pfannenstiel is just 15 km from the finish in Zürich and is often the launching point for the winning move in the race. Between 1993 and 1999 the race started in Basel and finished in Zürich and was known as the Grand Prix Suisse.

Winners[edit]

List of winners[edit]

Rider Team
1914 Switzerland Henri Rheinwald (SUI)
1917 Switzerland Charles Martinet (SUI)
1918 Switzerland Anton Sieger (SUI)
1919 Switzerland Heiri Suter (SUI)
1920 Switzerland Heiri Suter (SUI)
1921 Italy Ricardo Maffeo (ITA)
1922 Switzerland Heiri Suter (SUI)
1923 Germany Adolf Huschke (GER)
1924 Switzerland Heiri Suter (SUI)
1925 Switzerland Hans Kaspar (SUI)
1926 Switzerland Albert Blattmann (SUI)
1927 Switzerland Kastor Notter (SUI)
1928 Switzerland Heiri Suter (SUI)
1929 Switzerland Heiri Suter (SUI)
1930 Belgium Omer Taverne (BEL)
1931 Austria Max Bulla (AUT)
1932 Switzerland Auguste Erne (SUI)
1933 Switzerland Walter Blattmann (SUI)
1934 Switzerland Paul Egli (SUI)
1935 Switzerland Paul Egli (SUI)
1936 Switzerland Werner Buchwalder (SUI)
1937 Switzerland Leo Amberg (SUI)
1938 Switzerland Hans Martin (SUI)
1939 Switzerland Karl Litschi (SUI)
1940 Switzerland Robert Zimmermann (SUI)
1941 Switzerland Walter Diggelmann (SUI)
1942 Switzerland Paul Egli (SUI)
1943 Switzerland Ferdinand Kübler (SUI)
1944 Switzerland Ernst Naef (SUI)
1945 Switzerland Léo Weilenmann (SUI)
1946 Italy Gino Bartali (ITA)
1947 Switzerland Charles Guyot (SUI)
1948 Italy Gino Bartali (ITA)
1949 Switzerland Fritz Schaer (SUI)
1950 Switzerland Fritz Schaer (SUI)
1951 Switzerland Jean Brun (SUI)
1952 Switzerland Hugo Koblet (SUI)
1953 Switzerland Eugène Kamber (SUI)
1954 Switzerland Hugo Koblet (SUI)
1955 Switzerland Max Schellenberg (SUI)
1956 Switzerland Carlo Clerici (SUI)
1957 Germany Hans Junkermann (GER)
1958 Italy Giuseppe Cainero (ITA)
1959 Italy Angelo Conterno (ITA)
1960 Switzerland Alfred Ruegg (SUI)
1961 Switzerland Rolf Maurer (SUI)
1962 Netherlands Jan Janssen (NED)
1963 Italy Franco Balmamion (ITA)
1964 Belgium Guido Reybrouck (BEL)
1965 Italy Franco Bitossi (ITA)
1966 Italy Italo Zilioli (ITA)
1967 Switzerland Robert Hagmann (SUI)
1968 Italy Franco Bitossi (ITA)
1969 Belgium Roger Swerts (BEL)
1970 Belgium Walter Godefroot (BEL)
1971 Belgium Herman Van Springel (BEL)
1972 Belgium Willy Van Neste (BEL)
1973 Belgium André Dierickx (BEL)
1974 Belgium Walter Godefroot (BEL)
1975 Belgium Roger De Vlaeminck (BEL)
1976 Belgium Freddy Maertens (BEL)
1977 Italy Francesco Moser (ITA)
1978 Germany Dietrich Thurau (GER)
1979 Italy Giuseppe Saronni (ITA)
1980 Belgium Gerry Verlinden (BEL)
1981 Switzerland Beat Breu (SUI)
1982 Netherlands Adri van der Poel (NED)
1983 Netherlands Johan van der Velde (NED)
1984 Australia Phil Anderson (AUS)
1985 Belgium Ludo Peeters (BEL)
1986 Portugal Acacio Da Silva Mura (POR)
1987 Germany Rolf Gölz (GER)
1988 Netherlands Steven Rooks (NED)
1989 Canada Steve Bauer (CAN)
1990 France Charly Mottet (FRA)
1991 Belgium Johan Museeuw (BEL)
1992 Russia Viatcheslav Ekimov (RUS)
1993 Italy Maurizio Fondriest (ITA)
1994 Italy Gianluca Bortolami (ITA)
1995 Belgium Johan Museeuw (BEL)
1996 Italy Andrea Ferrigato (ITA)
1997 Italy Davide Rebellin (ITA)
1998 Italy Michele Bartoli (ITA)
1999 Poland Grzegorz Gwiazdowski (POL)
2000 Switzerland Laurent Dufaux (SUI)
2001 Italy Paolo Bettini (ITA)
2002 Italy Dario Frigo (ITA)
2003 Italy Daniele Nardello (ITA)
2004 Spain Juan Antonio Flecha (ESP)
2005 Italy Paolo Bettini (ITA)
2006 Spain Samuel Sánchez (ESP)

Multiple winners[edit]

Wins Rider Nationality Editions
6 Heiri Suter   Switzerland 1919, 1920, 1922, 1924, 1928, 1929
3 Paul Egli   Switzerland 1934, 1935, 1942
2 Gino Bartali  Italy 1946, 1948
Fritz Schär   Switzerland 1949, 1950
Hugo Koblet   Switzerland 1952, 1954
Franco Bitossi  Italy 1965, 1968
Walter Godefroot  Belgium 1970, 1974
Johan Museeuw  Belgium 1991, 1995
Paolo Bettini  Italy 2001, 2005

Wins per country[edit]

Wins Country
40   Switzerland
20  Italy
13  Belgium
4  Germany
 Netherlands
2  Spain
1  Australia
 Austria
 Canada
 France
 Poland
 Portugal
 Russia

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zueri Metzgete [@ZueriMetzgete] (2 April 2015). "t.co/mXdakscXGw t.co/VJcMmRpaHN" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ Doreen Carvajal (3 May 2007). "Cycling struggles for support as doping takes a toll". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 5 May 2007. Retrieved 4 February 2018.