Race details
Date Early October
Region Zürich, Switzerland
English name Championship of Zürich
Local name(s) Züri-Metzgete (Zürich German)
Meisterschaft von Zürich (German)
Discipline Road race
Type One-day
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

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

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.


List of winners

Rider Team
1914 Switzerland Rheinwald, HenriHenri Rheinwald (SUI)
1917 Switzerland Martinet, CharlesCharles Martinet (SUI)
1918 Switzerland Sieger, AntonAnton Sieger (SUI)
1919 Switzerland Suter, HeiriHeiri Suter (SUI)
1920 Switzerland Suter, HeiriHeiri Suter (SUI)
1921 Italy Maffeo, RicardoRicardo Maffeo (ITA)
1922 Switzerland Suter, HeiriHeiri Suter (SUI)
1923 Germany Huschke, AdolfAdolf Huschke (GER)
1924 Switzerland Suter, HeiriHeiri Suter (SUI)
1925 Switzerland Kaspar, HansHans Kaspar (SUI)
1926 Switzerland Blattmann, AlbertAlbert Blattmann (SUI)
1927 Switzerland Notter, KastorKastor Notter (SUI)
1928 Switzerland Suter, HeiriHeiri Suter (SUI)
1929 Switzerland Suter, HeiriHeiri Suter (SUI)
1930 Belgium Taverne, OmerOmer Taverne (BEL)
1931 Austria Bulla, MaxMax Bulla (AUT)
1932 Switzerland Erne, AugusteAuguste Erne (SUI)
1933 Switzerland Blattmann, WalterWalter Blattmann (SUI)
1934 Switzerland Egli, PaulPaul Egli (SUI)
1935 Switzerland Egli, PaulPaul Egli (SUI)
1936 Switzerland Buchwalder, WernerWerner Buchwalder (SUI)
1937 Switzerland Amberg, LeoLeo Amberg (SUI)
1938 Switzerland Martin, HansHans Martin (SUI)
1939 Switzerland Litschi, KarlKarl Litschi (SUI)
1940 Switzerland Zimmermann, RobertRobert Zimmermann (SUI)
1941 Switzerland Diggelmann, WalterWalter Diggelmann (SUI)
1942 Switzerland Egli, PaulPaul Egli (SUI)
1943 Switzerland Kübler, FerdinandFerdinand Kübler (SUI)
1944 Switzerland Naef, ErnstErnst Naef (SUI)
1945 Switzerland Weilenmann, LeoLéo Weilenmann (SUI)
1946 Italy Bartali, GinoGino Bartali (ITA)
1947 Switzerland Guyot, CharlesCharles Guyot (SUI)
1948 Italy Bartali, GinoGino Bartali (ITA)
1949 Switzerland Schaer, FritzFritz Schaer (SUI)
1950 Switzerland Schaer, FritzFritz Schaer (SUI)
1951 Switzerland Brun, JeanJean Brun (SUI)
1952 Switzerland Koblet, HugoHugo Koblet (SUI)
1953 Switzerland Kamber, EugeneEugène Kamber (SUI)
1954 Switzerland Koblet, HugoHugo Koblet (SUI)
1955 Switzerland Schellenberg, MaxMax Schellenberg (SUI)
1956 Switzerland Clerici, CarloCarlo Clerici (SUI)
1957 Germany Junkermann, HansHans Junkermann (GER)
1958 Italy Cainero, GiuseppeGiuseppe Cainero (ITA)
1959 Italy Conterno, AngeloAngelo Conterno (ITA)
1960 Switzerland Ruegg, AlfredAlfred Ruegg (SUI)
1961 Switzerland Maurer, RolfRolf Maurer (SUI)
1962 Netherlands Janssen, JanJan Janssen (NED)
1963 Italy Balmamion, FrancoFranco Balmamion (ITA)
1964 Belgium Reybrouck, GuidoGuido Reybrouck (BEL)
1965 Italy Bitossi, FrancoFranco Bitossi (ITA)
1966 Italy Zilioli, ItaloItalo Zilioli (ITA)
1967 Switzerland Hagmann, RobertRobert Hagmann (SUI)
1968 Italy Bitossi, FrancoFranco Bitossi (ITA)
1969 Belgium Swerts, RogerRoger Swerts (BEL)
1970 Belgium Godefroot, WalterWalter Godefroot (BEL)
1971 Belgium Van Springel, HermanHerman Van Springel (BEL)
1972 Belgium Van Neste, WillyWilly Van Neste (BEL)
1973 Belgium Dierickx, AndreAndré Dierickx (BEL)
1974 Belgium Godefroot, WalterWalter Godefroot (BEL)
1975 Belgium De Vlaeminck, RogerRoger De Vlaeminck (BEL)
1976 Belgium Maertens, FreddyFreddy Maertens (BEL)
1977 Italy Moser, FrancescoFrancesco Moser (ITA)
1978 Germany Thurau, DietrichDietrich Thurau (GER)
1979 Italy Saronni, GiuseppeGiuseppe Saronni (ITA)
1980 Belgium Verlinden, GerryGerry Verlinden (BEL)
1981 Switzerland Breu, BeatBeat Breu (SUI)
1982 Netherlands Poel, Adri van derAdri van der Poel (NED)
1983 Netherlands Velde, Johan van derJohan van der Velde (NED)
1984 Australia Anderson, PhilPhil Anderson (AUS)
1985 Belgium Peeters, LudoLudo Peeters (BEL)
1986 Portugal Da Silva Mura, AcacioAcacio Da Silva Mura (POR)
1987 Germany Goz, RolfRolf Gölz (GER)
1988 Netherlands Rooks, StevenSteven Rooks (NED)
1989 Canada Bauer, SteveSteve Bauer (CAN)
1990 France Mottet, CharlyCharly Mottet (FRA)
1991 Belgium Museeuw, JohanJohan Museeuw (BEL)
1992 Russia Ekimov, ViatcheslavViatcheslav Ekimov (RUS)
1993 Italy Fondriest, MaurizioMaurizio Fondriest (ITA)
1994 Italy Bortolami, GianlucaGianluca Bortolami (ITA)
1995 Belgium Museeuw, JohanJohan Museeuw (BEL)
1996 Italy Ferrigato, AndreaAndrea Ferrigato (ITA)
1997 Italy Rebellin, DavideDavide Rebellin (ITA)
1998 Italy Bartoli, MicheleMichele Bartoli (ITA)
1999 Poland Gwiazdowski, GrzegorzGrzegorz Gwiazdowski (POL)
2000 Switzerland Dufaux, LaurentLaurent Dufaux (SUI)
2001 Italy Bettini, PaoloPaolo Bettini (ITA)
2002 Italy Frigo, DarioDario Frigo (ITA)
2003 Italy Nardello, DanieleDaniele Nardello (ITA)
2004 Spain Flecha, Juan AntonioJuan Antonio Flecha (ESP)
2005 Italy Bettini, PaoloPaolo Bettini (ITA)
2006 Spain Sanchez, SamuelSamuel Sánchez (ESP)

Multiple winners

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

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


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