SBS brings you the Critérium du Dauphiné from 4 - 11 June. Here's the latest updates on the eight stage race, a traditional warm-up before the big dance around France.

Sunday 4 Jun 2017
Chris Froome (Sky) enters the Critérium du Dauphiné on the back of his lightest race schedule in years. He arguably no longer must prove himself outside of select events, such is the image he and Sky have cultivated, explains Sky sport director...
[node_list uuid="a9440bd1-0aaa-4f78-872d-d9f966fd5f3b"]The Critérium du Dauphiné  is a curtain-raiser to the Tour de France and so provides Sky with an opportunity to intimidate key rivals at the race and before the main draw.Speaking to...

 

Movistar heads into the Dauphiné with 2017's most 'winningest' rider, Alejandro Valverde.

The Spaniard has won three of the eight one-day races he started this season, including Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Fleche Wallone. The two-time Dauphiné winner has not lost a stage race, winning all three he entered this year including the Tour of the Basque Country and Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. This early season success earned him some rest and a training block.

Although he hasn't raced for over a month it's hard to come up with any predictions for this race where Valverde doesn't podium. 

He'll surely feature in the mountains, but the seasoned veteran may also take advantage of other stages suited to his punchy kick. 

At least that's what Dauphiné technical director Gilles Maignan hopes for stage 1 in Saint-Étienne.

"There isn’t any flat section on the circuit and the final straight on the Cours Fauriel is a false flat uphill.

"Since the Côte de Rochetaillée isn’t very wide, positioning will be crucial. I can imagine Valverde taking profit of the situation. Time gaps shouldn’t be big but they might impact the final result of the race.”

Movistar at the Dauphiné: Jorge Arcas, Richard Carapaz, Imanol Erviti, Rubén Fernández, Jesús Herrada, Dani Moreno, Jasha Sütterlin, Alejandro Valverde. 

Cyclingnews reports that Fabio Aru considers his participation in the Critérium du Dauphiné a new start to his season and as a result has no serious expectations. 

The Astana rider has not raced since March's Tirreno-Adriatico which he abandoned with bronchitis. A knee injury sustained during an altitude training camp in Spain also scuppered the Sardinian's plans to start the Giro in his home town. 

“The Dauphiné will immediately show where I am against the best rider in the world. It’s a new start for me but I hope to be competitive and up there,” Aru said. 

“It’s like a new start to the season for me, even if I don’t want to forget my good performances at the Tour of Oman where I was second on the mountain finish and third overall, and at the Abu Dhabi Tour, where I was sixth on the climb. Those results remain even if a tough spell began soon after.

"The last few months have been really difficult and then I was hit by Michele Scarponi’s death. I was lucky to have a lot of support from my family and friends.”

“I still need some time to understand what I can do at the Tour de France. It’s difficult to prepare for the Tour with the problems I’ve faced."

“I’ve been feeling better day after day even if I don’t know how I’ll go. I haven’t raced against other riders for a long time. I can’t wait to start racing but who knows how it will go.” 

Astana at the Critérium du Dauphiné

Saturday 3 Jun 2017

The Tour de France has finished 29 times on Alpe d'Huez since 1952 and at the Critérium du Dauphiné it has featured just once - in 2010 with Alberto Contador the victor. 

But it has never been raced in the opposite direction. On stage 7 of the Dauphiné, the peloton will ascend the Col de Sarenne pass before tackling the fabled climb. 

Course director Gilles Maignan said he came up with the idea while at the 2013 Tour when the peloton descended Col de Sarenne to then loop back to ascend the Alpe d'Huez a second time.  

"The idea has been a brewing for a long time," Maignan said. "The hundredth edition of the Tour de France revisited the Alpe d'Huez on a stage that ascended the famous 21-bend climb twice."

"But beforehand, there was no road to make this possible, but the refurbishment of the road on the Col de Sarenne pass opened new horizons involving a rather technical descent.

"I was already looking ahead to the potential possibilities of this route… by tackling it (why not?) as a climb! I kept this idea in the back of my mind.

"The opportunity to return to the Alpe d'Huez arose and we thought it would be interesting to test out this new format, to breathe new life into this finish."

And Maignan hopes it will shake up the general classification.  

“With this change, there are a total of 19 kilometres of climbing on the run-in, with sections that will shake up the race as well as break the rhythm. Right at the end, there is a small descent before getting to grips with the last four kilometres with which everybody is familiar.

"I'm virtually sure that it's more difficult than the traditional climb." 

QuickStep Floors will once again race all-in for Dan Martin at the Dauphiné who finished third at last year's edition. 

The Irishman heads in to the race with a strong Ardennes campaign under his belt, finishing second in both La Fleche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The 30-year-old also finished sixth overall at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and third at Paris-Nice in March. 

"Our team is built around Dan, whom we’ll protect and help get another strong and morale-boosting result ahead of next month’s Tour de France," sport director Brian Holm said. 

“If you look over the course, it’s pretty obvious we have the same ingredients as in the past: some hard stages in the opening portion of the week, then a challenging time trial, which even though isn’t long will lay down the ground for attacks in the mountains.

"I don’t think there will be a moment of respite in the race, so we have to stay attentive all the time."

Andrew Talansky will lead the Cannondale-Drapac squad at this year's Critérium du Dauphiné, fresh off his win atop Mt. Baldy at the Tour of California and third overall there. 

“Baldy and the Tour of California in general was a great week for the team," Talansky said.

"We really enjoyed the race and built some positive momentum heading into the summer. Baldy confirmed that everything is progressing smoothly.

"If we can carry that mentality, that way of racing into the remainder of the season, I have no doubt we will be successful. I’m feeling good physically and mentally.”

In 2014, the American's winning move on the final stage caught Alberto Contador and Chris Froome unawares. This year he holds no expectations. 

"For me personally, I’ll do the best race I can, same as at California,” Talansky said. “I have always enjoyed Dauphine. It fits nicely in the build up towards July, but really it’s a great race in its own right. I think it’s always an exciting week and I’m looking forward to heading back.”

“I think the team has opportunities to win stages and end up with a nice overall GC result. Formolo is clearly strong coming out of the Giro with a top-10 placing."

Joining Talansky are Australians Brendan Canty and Simon Clarke plus Alberto Bettiol, Nate Brown, Davide Formolo, Sebastian Langeveld and Dylan Van Baarle. 

 

Global Cycling Network (GCN) previews the Critérium du Dauphiné, broadcast LIVE on SBS Viceland and online from 4-11 June 2017.
 The first stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné is LIVE on SBS Viceland and online from 9:45pm AEST, Sunday 4 June. [node_list uuid="a9440bd1-0aaa-4f78-872d-d9f966fd5f3b"]

Porte primed for Dauphine

2017 Tour de Romandie winner Richie Porte will return to the Critérium du Dauphiné from 4-11 June to race for the last time before the Tour de France.
[node_list uuid="a9440bd1-0aaa-4f78-872d-d9f966fd5f3b"]Porte, who finished fourth overall in 2016, is looking to secure his third UCI WorldTour stage race win this year."The Critérium du Dauphiné is the last big test before the Tour de France,"...