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"On paper, stage 1 suits me well. I hope to make the front group and race for the win. But I'm yet to check out my real state of form and figure out my role in the team."

Photo: Sirotti






06.06.2015 @ 20:42 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The 67th Criterium du Dauphiné will start with a circuit around Albertville, the hosting city of the 1992 winter Olympic Games. Stage 1 is open to sprinters and attackers. It suits the new French sensation Julian Alaphilippe while the first crucial stage for shaping the overall classification will be an unprecedented team time trial that appeals to world champions BMC captained by Tejay van Garderen.


A sprinter in yellow at Albertville?

In the recent history of the Critérium du Dauphiné, the first yellow-blue jersey has never been awarded to a sprinter. The last beneficiary up to date was actually Wilfried Nelissen in Vaulx-en-Velin in 1992. In 2013, the inaugural stage was not a time trial for once, but Canada's David Veilleux won solo for Europcar in Champéry, Switzerland.


Different scenarios can be foreseen this year, as technical director Gilles Maignan has chosen the course of stage 1 around Albertville to give a chance to several types of riders.


“It's purposely a relatively short stage (131.5km) and it's a circuit race because this kind of courses can generate a lot of dynamics”, he explained. “In the last five laps, there's the côte du Villard. It's not a very long hill but a pretty steep one. The climb is not on the course for eliminating sprinters like Nacer Bouhanni, Sacha Modolo and Tyler Farrar but it'll not be easy for them to overcome the difficulty. It's also not sure that sprinters' teams will be able to get organized in the last twelve kilometers before the finish. Therefore, a small group can make it. The race also suits Julian Alaphilippe who climbs very well and can also sprint.”


Julian Alaphilippe: “I want to test myself”

Julian Alaphilippe hasn't raced on French soil since he made a name for himself after he came second to Alejandro Valverde at Flèche wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and second again to Peter Sagan at the Tour of California where he won the queen stage up to Mount Baldy. That gives him a different status at the start of the Dauphiné although he keeps his usual humble attitude.


“It's been super to win in California and as a team as well with Mark Cavendish's sprint victories”, the Frenchman told on the eve of stage 1. “I took part in the Dauphiné last year and it was difficult for me. I should be in a better shape this time. I hope I have recovered well from the trip to California.


"Mount Baldy is an 8 km long climb, it can't be compared to the climbs here but actually, I don't have much experience in the Alps and the level at the Dauphiné is very high. It's going to be a test. I don't know what to expect but I want to test myself and to ride better than last year. I'm very happy to be here anyway.


"On paper, stage 1 suits me well. I hope to make the front group and race for the win. But I'm yet to check out my real state of form and figure out my role in the team. David De La Cruz who comes out of the Giro has expressed ambitions for GC. Maxime Bouet and Tony Martin can do something as well. I don't want to have any regret at the end of the week but I also don't want to let myself carried away.”


Alaphilippe will turn 23 during the Dauphiné, the day of stage 5 from Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup, which is the first big test in the mountains.


Tejay van Garderen: “I feel really good”

A regular underdog at the Tour de France, Tejay van Garderen could be a favorite at the Dauphiné to succeed his compatriot Andrew Talansky. The inception of a team time trial puts more chances on his side since he's part of BMC – the current world champion of that specialty.


“I have found memories of the Dauphiné”, the American recalled in an interview with “In 2010 (3rd overall), it's the race that put me on stage with the bigger names. Like last year, it's my first race back since Liège-Bastogne-Liège. We decided that May would be my building month for the Tour de France. I feel good. My form is right on track. My altitude training at home in Aspen has been really good. The Dauphiné comes at the right time for me to find the rhythm that I need.


"I've already recognized the stage to Pra Loup, I like it very much. If I see the opportunity to attack and win the Dauphiné, I'll go for it but it's also a race to test the rivals before the Tour, to see where they are, to study them. On the other hand, if [Chris] Froome or [Vincenzo] Nibali attack, I'll be able to see where I need to work. So in any case, the Dauphiné is a win-win situation.


"It's always a learning experience. In the end, the result is secondary to building the form towards July. It's a mental game as well. Before the two Tour de France I've finished in fifth place, I've come only thirteenth at the Dauphiné…


"Being the world champions, the team time trial is a stage we'll take seriously and we definitely want to win. Whether our performance on that day can impact our tactic in the mountains later or not, we haven't gone that far in our plans yet.”


Media: The Dauphiné to be seen in China

The Criterium du Dauphiné will once again be broadcasted worldwide in 170 different countries. 19 networks will show the race live (vs 14 in 2014), among which, for the first time, the popular Chinese video-streaming portal LeTV that has more than ten million subscribers to their sport programs. In the Rhône-Alpes region where the race is mostly held, French daily newspaper L'Equipe will be published on June 7 with a 4-pages pull out entirely dedicated to the Critérium du Dauphiné.



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