Chris Froome (Sky) is one of the leading favourites going into the prestigious week-long French stage race. He won the 2013 edition of the Dauphiné on his way to claiming the Tour de France title the same year, and will undoubtedly be seeking a similar path in 2015. Froome will face key Tour rival Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) as both riders start to reach peak form.
Froome is backed up by three further British riders in Sky’s strong line-up for the race, all of whom have enjoyed their own success so far in 2015. Het Nieuwsblad winner Ian Stannard and Paris-Roubaix top 10 finisher Luke Rowe will be there in Ugine for the Dauphiné’s opening stage along with Peter Kennaugh, who placed ninth overall in the Tour of California last month.
Twin brothers Simon and Adam Yates have both been selected by Australia team Orica-GreenEdge to take part in the Dauphiné. The 22-year-old Bury duo will be targeting stage wins on the mountainous days of the race, and it will be interesting to see how they work together. Thus far in 2015, there have been few opportunities to see them riding together due to differing race programmes or injury.
It is possible that either or both Yates brothers could make the top 10 overall – Simon has already placed fifth in the Tour of the Basque Country and sixth in the Tour de Romandie this season, and Adam placed ninth in Tirreno-Adriatico. The omission of an individual time trial in favour of a team time trial on stage three also plays into their hands.
Alex Dowsett (Movistar) has been selected by his Spanish Movistar team. The current UCI Hour Record holder has hit great form after breaking his collarbone in the spring, not only claiming the Hour mark but also his first stage race win at Bayern-Rundfahrt in May. Dowsett will be supporting Movistar overall contender Alejandro Valverde, but may also get his opportunity to get into escape groups and will provide significant power for stage three’s team time trial.
Wirral man Steve Cummings will be a key player in MTN-Qhubeka’s squad. The South African outfit has been given a wildcard ride for this year’s Tour de France, and will want to make a good impression at the Dauphiné.
Cummings is one of the MTN’s most experienced stage racers, having won the Tour Méditerranéen in 2014 and placed sixth in both Tirreno-Adriatico and Circuit Cycliste Sarthe this year.
With the Dauphiné serving as a key warm-up race for the Tour de France, as well as a prestigious event in its own right, we may see the same selection of British riders also take part in this year’s Tour in July.
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