Gallopin lays GC ambitions to one side for Dauphine and Tour de France

Frenchman on the hunt for stage wins

Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) will target stage wins at this year's Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de France as he puts aside his dreams of becoming a GC rider for the time being.

The Frenchman hinted at a future in stage racing when he finished sixth in Paris-Nice last year and then backed that up with a strong and consistent ride in the opening two weeks of the Tour de France. He held a top ten position until he finally cracked in the mountains, eventually finishing 31st overall in Paris.

This season has seen Gallopin remain consistent in one-day races and stage events, although he has yet to take a win. His last major success came in Paris-Nice last year when he claimed a stage win on the penultimate day.

At the start of the Dauphiné, Gallopin confirmed to Cyclingnews that stage wins, rather than GC aspirations, were his focus for the coming months.

"I'm here for stage wins. It's too hard here for GC for me, with a lot of tough stages. I won't even try for GC. It's still a good stage race for me though. There are just two days for the sprinters and then a lot of finishes that suit riders like me. I can even look at stages 2 and 3 as opportunities."

Gallopin's form is somewhat of an unknown at this point. He put in a respectable but hardly spectacular ride in the opening mountain prologue and cruised through stage 1. His last race came in April so he is only just finding his legs after a period of rest and training.

"I think it's a good question, to ask about my form. My last race was Liège-Bastogne-Liège, so it's been around six weeks since my last race. I did a good training camp in Sierra Nevada but right now I don't know how I'll go. I'll take each stage as they come.

"I needed a break after the Classics, I always do. Then I had the camp and I'm back at the Dauphiné. I've had the same pattern for the last five years and I know I’ll have a mixture of good and bad days here but the goal remains the Tour de France."

Gallopin's finest hour of course came in 2014, when he won a memorable stage of the Tour de France to Oyonnax and wore the maillot jaune for a day. Rather understandably, Gallopin is aiming to replicate that year's Tour come July.

"I want a Tour like the one I had in 2014, when I went in the break and took yellow. It was a really special ride. This year a stage is important for me as a target. Of course, last year was important to me but you have to prepare and focus on that from a long way out if you want to ride for GC. This year, I'm going back to ride like I did in 2014."

The 28-year-old Gallopin still has time on his side should he wish to switch his focus to the general classification in three-week races in the future.

"I could go back and ride for GC in the future, maybe when I'm more than 30 years old. I would like to do it but you need to have the team focused on this too and at the moment the focus is winning stages."

"Since I've been a pro my coach has always thought that I could do something over a three-week race. I need more experience, I need to be stronger on the climbs, in the time trials and have more experience. I need to progress everywhere."

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