With the Tour de France just four weeks away, the start of the Critérium du Dauphiné this weekend will be a good gauge on what sort of form the main players are in. Held in France, the eight stage race from 5th to 12th June features Alpine mountains, flat and rolling stages as well as time trials that will see the GC contenders of the Tour trying to impose themselves and intimidate their rivals.
This has traditionally been a good race for Team Sky with four wins in the last five years, and an early indicator of good form. This year they arrive with the powerful team of Chris Froome, Mikel Landa, Wout Poels (winner of Liege-Baston-Liege) and Mikel Nieve, fresh from a stage win at the Giro.
It’s a strong field throughout the peloton with Alberto Contador keen to rekindle his rivalry with Froome; Fabio Aru, who will want to assert his status at Astana after Nibali’s victory at the Giro; and Richie Porte of BMC also vying for leadership of his team.
The last three days will see the GC decided with some tough climbs including the notorious Col de la Madeleine and a finish in the ski resort of Meribel. Eurosport will have live coverage while ITV4 will be broadcasting highlights of each stage.