Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) is prioritising conditioning over the final result at the Critérium du Dauphiné this week as he builds towards the Tour de France. 4th overall in La Grande Boucle last season, the Belgian is aiming for a podium finish this time around and the Dauphiné is his final preparatory stage race.
Van Den Broeck’s lone professional victory to date came at the Dauphiné two years ago, when he won the opening road stage. Although he would like to repeat the feat in 2013, he pointed out that he is already focusing on the main event in July.
“The Dauphiné a final test to see where you stand,” Van Den Broeck said, according to Biciciclismo. “Every year at the Dauphiné, we get an idea of what we will do at the Tour. The sensations here at the Dauphiné are more important than the result but of course I’d like to win another stage because that’s always good for your confidence.”
Van Den Broeck has been quietly consistent through the early months of the season, recording top 10 finishes at the Tour de San Luis, Ruta del Sol, Volta a Catalunya and Tour de Romandie. He has interspersed stage races with regular stints at altitude at his traditional training base of Sierra Nevada, although he has altered his preparation slightly in a bid to peak in the Tour’s final week.
“We haven’t changed the preparation much compared to previous years,” said Van Den Broeck. ”After the Tour de Romandie, I took a week off and then I went to Sierra Nevada. In this way, we’re trying to move the peak of my form to the last week [of the Tour], which is difficult and will be as decisive as ever. We’ll see over those three weeks if I’m as good as in previous years, but I realise that I’m stronger mentally.”
The Tour’s tough final week features summit finishes at l’Alpe d’Huez and Semnoz, as well as the potentially crucial time trial to Chorges, and Van Den Broeck believes the race will be decided in its closing days.
“The hardest part of the Tour is the final week, where it’s impossible to recover, and the GC can change right up to the last Saturday,” he said. “After the Dauphiné, I’ll go back to Sierra Nevada to put the finishing touches on my condition. Then I’ll go home just before the Belgian national championships.”