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Michael Rogers, Chris Anker Sørensen and Jesus Hernandez all ready to support their captain in the Alps

Photo: Sirotti

ALBERTO CONTADOR

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BENJAMIN NOVAL

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CHRIS ANKER SØRENSEN

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CRITERIUM DU DAUPHINE

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DANIELE BENNATI

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JESUS HERNANDEZ BLAZQUEZ

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KARSTEN KROON

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MATTEO TOSATTO

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MICHAEL MØRKØV

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MICHAEL ROGERS

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NICKI SØRENSEN

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NICOLAS ROCHE

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OLIVER ZAUGG

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ROMAN KREUZIGER

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SERGIO PAULINHO

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TIMOTHY DUGGAN

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TOUR DE SUISSE

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30.05.2013 @ 21:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After a short mid-season break from competition, Albert Contador will be back in action when he fine-tunes his condition for the Tour de France in the Criterium du Dauphiné which starts on Sunday. The race will serve as a dress rehearsal for the Tour de France as the Spaniard will be backed by most of the riders that are expected to support him in the French mountains in July.

 

Having returned from suspension last August, Alberto Contador is in the midst of his final preparation for his first Tour participation since 2011. He last raced at the Liege-Bastogne-Liege in April and has since trained hard in the mountains near his new home in the Swiss city of Lugano.

 

The Spaniard has always used the Criterium du Dauphiné to fine-tune his condition ahead of la grande boucle, with the only exception being the 2011 season where his participation in the Giro d'Italia saw him prefer to rest in the month of June. This year he will be back in the French race in the Alps for the first time since 2010.

 

Contador has a reputation of always riding to win but the Dauphiné appears to be his only exception. Being held so close to the Tour, the Spaniard has always been content with following wheels and has mostly avoided putting in any of his trademark accelerations in the French race. In 2009 he almost served as a domestique for compatriot Alejandro Valverde - despite the two riding for different teams - and in 2010 he rode in a defensive mode to finish 2nd behind Janez Brajkovic.

 

This year he is likely to take a similar approach but could choose otherwise to regain some confidence after a hard spring campaign where he failed to reach any of his early-season targets. He finished 2nd in the Tour of Oman, 3rd in the Tirreno-Adriatico and an unusually modest 5th in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and has appeared to be far from the form that saw him emerge as the world's best stage racer.

 

The Dauphiné will be some kind of a dress rehearsal for the Tour de France as Contador will be surrounded by most of the riders that are expected to be at his side in the French mountains in July. Michael Rogers - last year's runner-up in the event and runner-up in the recent Tour of California - is expected to be his lieutenant while Chris Anker Sørensen, close friend Jesus Henandez and Sergio Paulinho - 2nd overall in the recent Tour of Norway - will also provide key support in the mountains. Benjamin Noval and Niciki Sørensen will serve as his guide on the flatter stretches while Timmy Duggan will continues his gradual build-up of form after his dramatic crash in the Tour Down Under in January.

 

Kreuziger leads team in the Tour de Suisse

With WorldTour points having increased performance, the Danish team cannot afford not to target the other big preparation stage, the Tour de Suisse, and so two of the few riders who appear to be assured a place on the race boat to Corsica at the end of June, will chase results in the Swiss event. Roman Kreuziger and Nicolas Roche will find the hilly course to their liking and the former would love to win the event that was the scene of his breakthrough victory in 2008.

 

They will be supported by 2011 Tour of Lombardy winner Oliver Zaugg in the mountains while Karsten Kroon, Daniele Bennati, Matteo Tosatto, Marko Kump and Michael Mørkøv will provide support on the less demanding stages. Bennati could target a stage a stage win in the sprint with support from Tosatto and Kump while breakaway specialists Kroon and Mørkøv will have the option to go on the attack.

 

The Criterium du Dauphiné starts on Sunday with a road stage starting and finishing in Champery while the Tour de Suisse starts on June 8 with a 8,1km prologue.

 

Team Saxo-Tinkoff for the Criterium du Dauphiné

Alberto Contador, Michael Rogers, Sergio Paulinho, Jesus Hernandez, Benjamin Noval, Chris Anker Sørensen, Nicki Sørensen and Timothy Duggan

 

 

Team Saxo-Tinkoff for the Tour de Suisse

Roman Kreuziger, Nicolas Roche, Oliver Zaugg, Michael Mørkøv, Karsten Kroon, Mark Kump, Daniele Bennati and Matteo Tosatto

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