We've been at Tenerife and done two weeks there but now's really where it starts. Everyone's getting serious, there are still spots up for grabs in the Sky team for the Tour de France.
I'm coming back from sickness and a month and a bit off racing so I think I'm where I need to be, but the Dauphiné's going to be the ultimate test. It's just under a month now until the Tour starts so I think I should be fine by the time we get to the start line in Corsica and I'll be jumping out of my skin to get the thing started.
If you look at the parcours for the Dauphiné, it's a solid race and totally different to how it was last year when Bradley won and Mick Rogers was second. Froomie's in good condition at the moment and chances are, yes, it's all for Froomie.
Just eight riders have done the Dauphiné-Tour double and if there is a question of whether Froomie can match what Bradley did last year and win both I say, why not? I know probably as well as anyone where Froomie is and for me, from the outside seeing his mental state, he's so tough and the efforts that he's doing, even if he's tired he's getting the desired watts and all of that out. He's his normal self while you're riding along but when we've got work to do, efforts, then he flicks that switch and I wouldn't want to be racing against him, put it that way. He's a very motivated man. He's in good condition and if you're in condition like that then you are going to be around the mark for both the Tour and the Dauphiné.
I haven't seen the race plan for next week yet but I don't think we'll be using me until it has to be done. It hasn't always been that I had to ride – Critérium International I didn't have to but then Romandie I did, that was my GC. Alberto's not going to be there underdone and then you've got Rodriguez so hopefully we'll have teams that are there to work and not just leave it all for Sky to do everything as per usual.
Having a hard mountain stage to kick things off as opposed to a traditional time trial definitely makes things interesting. A race like Trentino where there was no prologue and it was straight into a GC day, the breakaway went and arrived so there was no GC riders in there and it's a tricky situation - but it's not just tricky for us. It's everybody's race to lose. Alberto can't let the right move go with his team or whatever so it's going to be interesting. It's rare that this happens but then it's the same as the Tour. Okay, the Tour's first stage isn't a mountain stage but it will be interesting to watch and see who takes up responsibility for the chase.
There was a bit of interest in Alberto's comments regarding Bradley and Froomie, saying he won't be afraid of either if his legs feel good. But I guess he's just answering a direct question which has been asked of him. Alberto in his top form doesn't fear anybody. He's a bit of a boy racer, he loves to make the race hard and it's exciting for cycling fans if Alberto's back to his best but for me personally, then if he's tough talking then it's going to make my job a hell of a lot harder.
We haven't seen a lot of Alberto but looking at last year we didn't either and then he came out and was brilliant in the Vuelta. At the end of the day people like to write guys off, like everyone's written Cadel off. What people forget is that they're champion bike riders and they can turn it around pretty quick as well. You can't rule Alberto out.
What can you say about Cadel given his ride at the Giro. It was very impressive to see given where he was in the Critérium International and you can't beat around the bush – everyone talks about the Sky battle for the leadership but BMC's got the same thing going on and Cadel's stepped up and shown that he's the right leader. Then again, has this taken a lot out of his legs? I'm not sure. It was a pretty hard Giro but if anyone can come up for the Tour, it's Cadel.
Richie Porte is in the form of his burgeoning career, not an easy task considering the Australian shot into public consciousness in 2010 winning the Giro d'Italia's young rider classification and holding a place in the GC's top-10 for the duration of the grand tour - all as a neo pro.
Following his victory at Paris-Nice and runner-up overall placings at Critérium International and Vuelta al Pais Vasco, the Team Sky climber is about to take on the Ardennes for the very first time before building up to the Tour de France. Join Porte as he takes Cyclingnews along for the ride.
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