Critérium du Dauphiné 2015: Favourites
The Critérium du Dauphiné is a beautiful race in its own right and since it is battled out just prior to the Tour de France it gets even more interesting. Among the favourites for overall victory in the French Alps are Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome, Bauke Mollema, Tejay van Garderen and title holder Andrew Talansky. Cyclingstage.com brings you the main contenders. (Slideshow route/profile)
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The Briton started the 2015 season well by besting Contador in the Ruta del Sol, but then he was plagued by injuries. The come-back in the Volta y Catalunya was disappointing, his performance in Tour de Romandie was far better, outperforming Quintana and Nibali (but Zakarin took the overall). Let’s hope Froome is competitive in the Dauphiné so that he will be back to his best self in La Grande Boucle.
The Shark of Messina has little to show for in 2015 until now. But it was pretty much the same story last year. Then came the Tour de France and it all changed for the good, better, best. Is he eyeing the same path to success in 2015? Three appearances in the Dauphiné, but the Sicilian never reached higher than seventh place.
Strong start of the season for the new leader of Trek when he raced to second place overall in the Tirreno-Adriatico, only bested by Quintana. After a crash in the Tour of the Basque his good shape was gone. It is his first appearance in the Critérium du Dauphine, in last two editions of the Tour the Suisse he finished on the podium.
His victory last year was a present by Froome and Contador, who were only looking at each other and forgot about their competition. A smart move by the American brought him the biggest win in his career. Recently the 26-year-old won the American Time Trial Championships, which should come in handy on the treacherous team time trial track to Montagny.
Tejay van Garderen
Steady performances, that’s something the American should be looking for. This season he finished 16th in Paris-Nice and he won the Queen Stage in the Volta y Catalunya after he crashed a few days earlier and could forget about the overall. Of course his big goal is the Tour de France, a race he finished fifth last year. Van Garderen is 26 years of age, so the time has come to really prove if he is capable of leading BMC.
Last year, the 24 year old Dutchman was fourth in the overall and he was the best youngster, a feat he recently pulled of in the Volta a Catalunya. Definitely one of the biggest talents in the peloton.
The Unbeaten was in a class of his own in the Ardennes classics. Is he still able to perform in a week-long race? Both in 2008 and 2009 he was best in the Dauphiné
In recent years, the Portuguese was in top shape in the month of June. Three times in a row he won the Tour de Suisse. No victories in 2015 so far.
In the Tour of the Basque Country Purito showed he is still a force to be reckoned with, winning two stages and the overall.
Riders to watch:
Rafael Valls, Tim Wellens, Romain Bardet, Julian Alaphilippe and Jean-Christophe Péraud
Critérium du Dauphiné 2015: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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