A major attraction of the Tour de Suisse – besides the 18 UCI WorldTour teams competing – is the Swiss national team and its popular rider Simon Pellaud. He has become a true globe-trotter of the cycling world, having been known as a relentless
attacker since his years in the UCI WorldTour with IAM Cycling (2015-2016) and subsequently at La Vuelta where he appeared on stage several times as most combative rider.
On stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse, mimicking his team-mate Claudio Imhof who took the King of the Mountains jersey the previous day, he made a brave but ultimately unsuccessful breakaway, cresting the spectacular Chemin de Lorette in first position and
staying away to be the last man reeled in 6km before Peter Sagan won the bunch sprint in Murten. His efforts were loudly applauded on the roadsides of the French speaking part of Switzerland – Pellaud’s home soil – and equally by
the cycling fans in front of their TVs and smartphones in Colombia where he has settled and made many friends in the cycling community.
IAM Cycling shut their doors the same year as Tinkoff, and as a result there weren’t many options for riders like Pellaud and Jonathan Fumeaux, who was left without a contract in the UCI WorldTour despite being the Swiss national champion. With
the help of a crowdfunding campaign called #DoItDifferent, Pellaud joined the American team Illuminate for the purpose of travelling the world at the same time as riding his bike professionally. At the age of 26, outside of Europe, he has already
been to Cameroon, China, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Taiwan, Azerbaijan, Korea, Kazakhstan, Rwanda, Colombia, Thailand and Japan to compete in UCI-sanctioned events.
At the end of December 2016, he was exchanging text messages with his new team-mate Edwin Avila (who is now racing with Israel Cycling Academy). “How’s the weather on your side? Here in Switzerland I can’t train. Too cold. And it’s
snowing now.” “Here in Medellin, it’s 30°C!” The next day, Pellaud was on a plane to Colombia for an improvised training camp with his new friends who welcomed the Swiss rider with open arms. He was touched by the Colombians’
hospitality and returned to make Antioquia province his home.
Santa Elena is “the balcony of Medellin” on top of a mountain in the eastern part of the city. The 16km climb to reach it - at 2500 metres above sea level - is said by the Colombian cyclists to be “the best training terrain in the world”.
Pellaud bought a piece of land there and intends to build a house in the future.
In the meantime, he still has some cycling duties in Europe. Last winter, he went back to his roots at the Velo Club Excelsior of Martigny that was once presided over by his grandfather Raphy Pellaud, who created a Continental team with IAM as a returning
sponsor. The Swiss national team - with whom Pellaud brilliantly won the last stage of the Tour of Hainan in China last year - set a programme that included the Tour de Romandie (in which he won the King of the Mountains classification) and the Tour
At category 2 level, he has had a great 2019 so far: second on stage 7 of the Tour de Normandie; first on stage 1 in the Tour du Loir-et-Cher; winner of the Flèche Ardennaise; and winning again at the Tour de la Mirabelle – his first ever
overall victory in a stage race. His results and ever positive attitude earned him a two-year contract with Italian Pro Continental team Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec that also has historical close links with South American cycling: Colombia’s
Egan Bernal was the last top champion to have used Gianni Savio’s organisation as a springboard to the highest level.
Pellaud speaks fluent French – his native language – English, German, Italian and Spanish. As an active professional cyclist with connections on all continents, he’s a natural ambassador for next year’s UCI Road World Championships
in Aigle and Martigny (20-27 September 2020), in other words in his backyard. Since a very hilly course is on the cards, training in Colombia can only be a bonus for the rider who has demonstrated that a cycling career can be conducted differently
to that of most pro cyclists.
👉 Simon Pellaud's twitter account
🔗 Simon Pellaud's website