Colbrelli building Tour de France form at Criterium du Dauphine

Bahrain-Merida rider ready to take on Peter Sagan in battle for the green jersey

Sonny Colbrelli's first season in the WorldTour ranks with Bahrain Merida saw a change in the Italian's race Grand Tour race programme, swapping the Giro d'Italia for the Tour de France. Despite the fact the 27-year-old is making his Tour debut next month, Colbrelli is eyeing the green jersey at the French Grand Tour.

Sixth on stage one and fourth on stage 2 of the Criterium du Dauphine has Colbrelli in the lead of the points classification at a WorldTour race for the first time in his career. Since turning professional in 2012, Colbrelli has ridden the Giro with his best result coming on stage 5 of last year's race when he was third.

"It's been a bit of a strange sprint because I hit a bike in the finale and I lost the wheel of Démare and Kristoff so I launched from very far out, 300 or 350 metres! When I came back to their position, they were launching their sprint, so it's pretty good to finishing fourth in these circumstances," said Colbrelli of the stage won by FDJ's Démare.

A stage winner at Paris-Nice, Colbrelli has also recorded top-three results at the Dubai Tour, Tour of Oman, and Tour de Romandie and crowned his spring with De Brabantse Pijl-La Flèche Brabançonne victory.

"Considering the level of the sprinters here, I was even convinced that I'd be out of the top 10. But every day I feel better," Colbrelli added of his result. "I'm really happy because I've been one and half month without racing. Sprinting at the Dauphiné isn't an easy thing. It gives me hopes for the next meets."

For the entirety of Colbrelli's professional career, Peter Sagan has won the Tour's green jersey competition. Sagan will ride the Tour de Suisse in preparation for the Tour and aim to add to his 13 stage wins at the WorldTour race. Colbrelli meanwhile is focused on sealing the Dauphine points classification before turning his attention to becoming the first Italian since Alessandro Petacchi to win the green jersey.

"I like the green jersey, also at the Tour de France. This is my goal, here and at the Tour. I know that at the Tour I'll have to fight against strong sprinters including Peter Sagan who's been winning it for years now," he said. "I'm happy. Everything starts from here at the Dauphiné."

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