Hesjedal to bounce back from Giro d'Italia at Criterium du Dauphine

Mollema to lead Trek-Segafredo, with Theuns and Bonifazio for the sprints

Ryder Hesjedal will make his return after a disappointing Giro d'Italia when he lines up at the Critérium du Dauphiné this week.

Bauke Mollema, Trek-Segafredo's designated leader for the Tour de France in July, will also ride and is likely to be the American team's main general classification hope for the eight-stage race, which is often seen as a prelude to the Tour. Hesjedal, however, will have the opportunity to put the Giro behind him having been forced to abandon the race with intestinal problems part-way through stage 14. 

Even before he withdrew, the Canadian, who won the Giro d'Italia in 2012, was not performing as well as he'd have hoped and, after losing time on several occasions, found himself languishing well outside the top 10.

"I think it will take a while for this to sink in, and I am sure I will reflect more later," Hesjedal said after pulling out of the Giro. "I will try and not get too upset, but it is not easy. It's how it goes – I will have to deal with it. Life goes on."

The 35-year-old didn't make it far into the high mountains at the Giro but will find plenty of climbing at the back-end of the Dauphiné, with the penultimate stage boasting 4,000 metres of altitude gain and a summit finish at Meribel.

Mollema, who has finished in the top 10 at the last three Tours de France, raced the Dauphiné for the first time last year after previously preferring the Tour de Suisse as his June preparation race. It did not go well, however, as back problems hampered the Dutchman and he eventually finished over an hour down.

Road stages 1, 3, and 4 are all more amenable to bunch sprints and Trek-Segafredo line up with Niccolo Bonifazio and Edward Theuns as their fast men. 25-year-old Theuns, new to the WorldTour, has looked impressive across one-day races and bunch sprints this year and recently bagged his first win at the Belgium Tour, while 22-year-old Bonifazio, signed from Lampre-Merida, has had a string of top-five placings.

Trek-Segafredo's s team is rounded out by Haimar Zubeldia, Fumiyuki Beppu, Markel Irizar, and Julien Bernard.

Trek-Segafredo for the Critérium du Dauphiné: Fumiyuki Beppu, Julien Bernard, Niccolo Bonifazio, Ryder Hesjedal, Markel Irizar, Bauke Mollema, Edward Theuns, Haimar Zubeldia.

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