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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.

Züri-Metzgete
DateEarly October
RegionZürich, Switzerland
English nameChampionship of Zürich
Local name(s)Züri-Metzgete (Zürich German)
Meisterschaft von Zürich (in German)
DisciplineRoad race
Competition
TypeOne-day
Web sitewww.zueri-metzgete.ch Edit this at Wikidata
First edition1914 (1914)
Editions91
Final edition2006
First winner Henri Rheinwald (SUI)
Most wins Heiri Suter (SUI) (6 wins)
Final winner Samuel Sánchez (ESP)

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 backgroundEdit

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 routeEdit

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.

WinnersEdit

List of winnersEdit

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

Multiple winnersEdit

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 countryEdit

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

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  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.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)