Criterium du Dauphine: Strong Mitchelton-Scott squad built around Adam Yates

'The Dauphine's always a hard race' says British Tour de France hopeful

Adam Yates leads a strong Mitchelton-Scott team for the upcoming Critérium du Dauphiné as the British rider continues to build for a tilt at the Tour de France in July.

The eight-day race, which starts in Aurillac on Sunday, is a traditional route to the Tour, with plenty of climbing stages that replicate what the riders can expect to face in the French Alps in July. Yates can expect stiff competition from what is a star-studded start list, which includes Chris Froome (Team Ineos), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Jumbo-Visma's Wout van Aert.

"I'm looking forward to racing again after a small break and then a big training block following a busy start to the season," said Yates via his team's website, having last raced at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in late April, where he finished fourth.

"The Dauphiné is always a hard race, with everybody using it as a building block towards the Tour de France," he continued.

"It will be good for me to test where the legs are at, and we've got a decent team, too, with Jack Haig coming back from injury, so I'm excited to see what we can do there," he said.

Australian climber Haig could be in with a shout of starting his first Tour de France, having had to miss the Giro d'Italia due to a knee injury. Much will depend on what he can do next week, although the team is putting no pressure on him to perform.

"Jack has been OK for the moment after his knee injury, so we'll continue to give him some time and see how he's reacting to the racing with no pressure," explained sports director Laurenzo Lapage.

"This race is a preparation race for us," he continued. "We hope to come out of the race better than we go into it, thinking about the races that are coming afterwards. There are a few riders coming back from injury and small breaks from racing.

"Adam is always good for the general classification in races if you can bring him into the last few days in a good position, but we won't go into this race with any real pressure to go for the GC. We'll bring him through each day and see how it's going," said Lapage.

"The course is always hard and doesn't have that many sprint stages. Possibly stage one and three could be. Daryl Impey's coming back to racing after a short break, and we have Dion Smith and also Luka Mezgec there to help and be involved in the sprints, so those guys will speak out on the road each day," he said.

Yates's twin brother Simon is not part of the Dauphiné squad, and is not set to participate in the Tour de France. After taking a relatively disappointing eighth place overall at the recent Giro d'Italia, Simon will rest before building again for the start of the Vuelta a España in August.

Mitchelton-Scott for the Critérium du Dauphiné: Jack Haig, Damien Howson, Daryl Impey, Luka Mezgec, Nick Schultz, Dion Smith, Adam Yates

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