Wildcards to Argos-Shimano and three French Professional Continental teams
The Critérium du Dauphiné is mirroring the Tour de France in 2012, with not only the same top stars but with the exact same teams as the three-week race. Bradley Wiggins, Andy and Fränk Schleck and Cadel Evans are expected to warm up in the Dauphine on the way to their showdown in the Tour.
The same four Professional Continental teams have received wildcard invitations to the Dauphine as to the Tour de France: the three French teams of Cofidis, Europcar and Saur-Sojasun, and Argos-Shimano, around top sprinter Marcel Kittel.
They will join the 18 WorldTour teams at both races.
This year's Dauphine runs a total of 1052 km. It starts on June 3 with a 5.7km long prologue in Grenoble, and ends a week later in Chatel. The fourth stage will be a 53km time trial from Villie-Morgon to Bourg-en-Bresse. The race also features a climb up the Grand Columbier,which will also appear in the Tour de France for the first time.
Wiggins won the Dauphine in 2011, ahead of Evans and Alexandre Vinokourov.