• Esteban Chaves signing on at the 2016 Giro di Lombardia. (AAP)Source: AAP
Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) is back racing at the Critérium du Dauphiné after a four-month break. But Simon Yates will lead Orica-Scott's general classification aims.
Cycling Central

2 Jun 2017 - 1:05 PM  UPDATED 2 Jun 2017 - 1:14 PM

Critérium du Dauphiné to hit SBS screens
The Critérium du Dauphiné will be shown on SBS from 4 - 11 June. The eight stage race is the traditional warm-up for the Tour de France and is often where the riders that are in contention to win the yellow jersey in July show their true form.

Chaves' hiatus will see Simon Yates fill the leader's role, but the team will not place too many expectations on the Brit despite finishing runner-up to Richie Porte at the Tour of Romandie in late April. 

“We won’t put much pressure on him for that or the other guys," sport director Laurenzo Lapage said.

"It would be great if he can be up there overall and also look to the white jersey competition."

“For some of the riders it is their first race again after having a break from racing and training camps. We have to be careful that they use the race well and come out of it feeling good.

"The most important thing for us is that we focus on coming out of the race in good condition ready for the Tour de France."

It is the first Dauphiné for Chaves, who has just finished a block of training in Colombia with team mates Damien Howson and Sam Bewley where they trained at altitude throughout May. 

“We were sleeping at 2,550 metres," Howson said. "Some days we rode down to as low as 800 metres above sea level and rode back up to the height of the accommodation.

"Other days we train from the plateau of 2,500 metres up to 3,400 metres which is the highest altitude I have ever ridden at and meant you could train flat but still be at altitude. In the first week, I could definitely feel the difference."

Orica-Scott's Critérium du Dauphiné line-up is beefy with climbers with Roman Kreuziger and Jack Haig joining Damien Howson as domestiques for Yates and Chaves. Sam Bewley was due to start the Hammer Series and not the Dauphiné, but will miss it too after breaking a finger during the Colombian training camp. 

Daryl Impey, Jens Keukeleire and Simon Gerrans will provide options to the squad for the first few stages. 

“It's a good opportunity for all the guys to test their legs and also have their own opportunities,” Lapage said.

“The first few days could go either way, they could potentially be bunch sprints or finish with a breakaway.”

“Therefore these first stages are chances for the sprinters and Keukeleire is obviously in good shape having won the Tour of Belgium, so one of those early days we will ride for him and for another day we have Gerrans." 

Impey returns to racing after suffering a broken collarbone at Liege-Bastogne-Liege in April.  

The first stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné is LIVE on SBS Viceland and online from 9:45pm AEST, Sunday 4 June.