Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to Critérium du Dauphiné
A strong and versatile seven-man squad will take on the 23rd World Tour race of the season, one which should have something for everyone.
Running from June 3rd to the 10th, the 70th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné will start with a 6.6km prologue and continue with two road stages peppered with a total of twelve classified climbs – one of which will give the sprinters a chance to shine – but the first real test is scheduled on day four, a 35km team time trial between Pont-de-Vaux and Louhans-Châteaurenaud, in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region.
Stage 4 will see the peloton head into the mountains for the first summit finish of the race, Lans-en-Vercors, a prelude for Friday's 12.7km-long HC climb to Valmorel, which should seriously shake up the general classification. Four mountain passes – Montée de Bisanne, Col de Pré, Cormet de Roseland and La Rosière – will whittle down the bunch and give the GC contenders the proper terrain to fight for the yellow jersey on Saturday, while another mountain top finish, to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc (7 kilometers, 7.7%), will draw the curtain on the eight-day race.
Julian Alaphilippe and Bob Jungels, the riders who shared the spoils at the Ardennes Classics by winning Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège respectively, will lead the line for Quick-Step Floors at the Critérium du Dauphiné, where neo-pro Fabio Jakobsen will make his debut in a World Tour stage race. Top 10 overall at the Tour of California, Laurens De Plus will round out the team, together with James Knox, Pieter Serry and former stage winner Niki Terpstra.
For Julian Alaphilippe, this will be the fourth time he'll race the Dauphiné, where he won the best young rider jersey and finished sixth overall two years ago, when he recorded six top-10 placings in the race's eight stages.
"I am very happy to be at the start, it's always special to race in France and being so close to the Tour, this will also serve as a nice tune-up for July. After the Classics I got to rest and go on an altitude training camp, and now I'm eager to resume racing. The parcours is very hard and with so many climbs crammed in the second part of the week it could be a bit too hard for me, but I will see how I feel day after day, do my best and help the team get some nice results", said Julian – winner of four races so far this season – who'll be just one day shy of his 26th birthday when the race will conclude on Sunday.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images