Five Swiss will be among the riders lining up on Saturday under the Eiffel Tower in Paris as the Tour de France celebrates its centenary.
Their presence brings to 187 the total number of Swiss who have participated in cycling’s blue riband event.
Only two Swiss riders have ever won the Tour de France: Ferdi Kubler in 1950, and Hugo Koblet in 1951.
But Swiss riders have managed to clock up 50 stage victories between them. Only one of them - Alex Zülle in 1996 - has won the prologue, the time trial that starts the race.
Switzerland's cyclists have made it onto the final podium in Paris nine times.
Ferdi Kubler (1954), Tony Rominger (1993) and Alex Zülle (1995 and 1999) all finished second; Leo Amberg (1937), Fritz Schaer (1954) and Urs Zimmermann (1987) came in third.
During the 100 years of the Tour de France, Swiss riders have suffered their share of setbacks.
The most notorious was the Festina affair of 1998, when Swiss riders Laurent Dufaux, Alex Zülle and Armin Meier were expelled from the race after their team coach was caught with illegal drugs.
This year none of the five Swiss taking part in the race - Laurent Dufaux, Steve Zampieri, Markus Zberg, Sven Montgomery and Pierre Bourquenoud - is expected to have a major impact on the overall race.
While Lance Armstrong of the United States is going for a fifth consecutive victory, the best that can be hoped for the Swiss contingent is a stage win.
Last year Rubens Bertogliati from canton Ticino won the first stage in Luxembourg, fleetingly earning him the coveted leader's yellow jersey.
swissinfo, Pierre-Henri Bonvin (translation: Joanne Shields)
This year’s 20-stage Tour de France is 3,361 kilometres long.
A total of 60 riders took part in the race 100 years ago. This year, there will be 198 starters.
This year’s prize money totals €2,871,000 (SFr4.45 million), of which €400,000 will go to the winner.
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