Chris Froome will lead Team Ineos at the Critérium du Dauphiné (June 9-16) as he builds up for the Tour de France in July. Froome is a three-time winner of the Dauphiné and will be supported by a team that includes former world champion Michal Kwiatkowski, Wout Poels, and Gianni Moscon.
While Froome takes on the week-long French race, his teammate, and last year’s Tour de France winner, Geraint Thomas, races the Tour de Suisse later in June.
Froome had a slow start to the season but showed signs of improvement at the Tour of the Alps and then the Tour de Yorkshire, where he helped set up the overall win for teammate Chris Lawless. Since then he has been training at altitude in Tenerife, alongside Kwiatkowski, Poels and Dylan van Baarle.
The Critérium du Dauphiné will be Froome's final race outing before this year’s Tour de France, where he will be looking to win his fifth title and join an illustrious club of winners that includes Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain.
"This approach and build-up to July is something we’ve tried and tested quite a few times over the years now. Our camp went really well, and as always at the second camp in Tenerife I start to feel a lot more ready for racing. Now I’m looking forward to pinning on some numbers at the Dauphiné," Froome said.
"It’s hard to say where I’m going to be, given I haven’t done much racing recently, but I’d like to be there fighting for the overall win at the Dauphiné. The Tour group as a whole is moving forward and looking really good and ready for the next couple of months ahead. So hopefully we’ll have a really strong outing at the Dauphiné as well."
Referring to 12 months ago, when he approached the Tour on the back of winning the Giro d'Italia, and finished on the podium, he added: "Remembering my feelings coming out of the Giro last year – it’s so different to how I feel right now. Hopefully I’ll be a lot fresher now coming into this next block and more ready to race, as opposed to being on the back foot trying to recover from the Giro."
The Critérium du Dauphiné starts in the Cantal department on June 8 and finishes in the ski resort of Champéry on June 15. This year's route features several new climbs this year, with the three mountain stages coming towards the end of the race, while the battle for overall victory will also be shaped by the 26.1km time trial on stage 4. It will be Froome’s only individual time trial before this year’s Tour.
"I think it’s a pretty good, well balanced route," Froome said. "There are a few lumpy days, a time trial and then some big mountain days. We’ll definitely get a good gauge of where we’re at after doing this Dauphine as there’s a bit of everything there."
Froome is not the only Tour de France contender using the Dauphine as their final race before July’s main event. Romain Bardet, Richie Porte, Thibaut Pinot, Nairo Quintana will all be racing the eight-day event.
Team Ineos for the Critérium du Dauphiné: Chris Froome, Gianni Moscon, Wout Poels, Michal Kwiatkowski, Ian Stannard, Dylan Van Baarle, and Vasil Kiryienka.