The last two winner of the Tour de France, Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali, have been confirmed for the 67th edition of Critérium du Dauphiné by race organisers ASO. Both riders are looking to add a second yellow jersey to their wardrobes this July and will use the French race as preparation for the Tour which starts with a 132km stage from Ugine to Albertville. Defending champion and recently crowned US national time trial champion Andrew Talansky has also confirmed his appearance for the race.
Considered a key warm-up event for the Tour, Bradley Wiggins won the race before going onto Tour de France glory a month later in 2012 which Froome repeated in 2013. Froome won the first two stages of the race last year, losing the leader's jersey on the penultimate day to Alberto Contador who then lost his lead to Talansky on the final stage to Courchevel-Le Praz.
Froome started his season with a stage win and overall victory at the Vuelta a Andalucia ahead of Alberto Contador with his best result since, third overall at the Tour de Romandie. While Nibali is yet to win a race in 2015, he entered the Dauphiné last year with doubts surrounding his form that grew louder following his seventh place overall but proved he did not need to be at peak form in June to fight for the maillot jaune one month later.
With the exception of Thibaut Pinot who finished third, the top-six riders from the 2014 Tour de France have been confirmed for the race in runner-up Jean-Christophe Péraud, Alejandro Valverde, Tejay van Garderen and Romain Bardet. Valverde, who currently leads the WorldTour standings, is the third former winner of the race having won back-to-back in 2008-09 and will lead the Movistar squad.
In a change from previous editions of the race, there is no opening test against the clock but instead a mid-race team time trial which has not featured in the Dauphiné since 1980. A summit finish in Pra Loup, which will feature on stage 17 of this year's Tour, is followed by the summit finishes in Villard-de-Lans-Vercors, Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc and Modane Valfréjus ensure that it is a race for the climbers with little on offer for the sprinters.
The team leaders for the 21 teams to race the 2015 Critérium du Dauphiné:
MTN-Qhubeka: Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor), Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri)
Bora-Argon 18: Jan Barta (Cze), Bartosz Huzarski (Pol
Team Giant-Alpecin: Luka Mezgec (Slo)
Orica-GreenEdge: Christian Meier (Can), Simon Yates (GBr)
Lotto-Soudal: Tony Gallopin (Fra), Jelle Vanendert (Bel)
Etixx-Quick Step: Julian Alaphilippe, Maxime Bouet (Fra), Tony Martin (Deu)
Movistar Team: Alejandro Valverde (Esp), Alex Dowsett (GBr), John Gadret (Fra)
BMC Racing Team: Tejay van Garderen (USA), Samuel Sánchez (Esp), Rohan Dennis (Aus)
Team Cannondale-Garmin: Andrew Talansky (USA), Daniel Martin (Irl), Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu)
Trek Factory Team: Bauke Mollema (Ned), Haimar Zubeldia (Esp)
AG2R La Mondiale: Romain Bardet, Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits: Nacer Bouhanni, Julian Simon (Fra), Daniel Navarro (Esp)
FDJ: Kenny Elissonde, Alexander Geniez (Fra)
Team Europcar: Pierre Rolland, Thomas Voeckler (Fra)
Team Sky: Chris Froome, Ian Stannard (Gbr), Nicholas Roche (Irl)
Lampre-Merida: Rui Costa (Prt), Rafa Valls (Esp), Sacha Modolo (Ita)
Astana Pro Team: Vincenzo Nibali (Ita), Lars Boom (Hol), Rein Taaramäe (Est)
Team Lotto NL-Jumbo: Wilco Kelderman, Bram Tankink (Ned)
Team Katusha: Joaquim Rodríguez (Esp), Tiago Machado (Prt)
Tinkoff-Saxo: Chris Anker Sorensen, Jesper Hansen (Dnk)
IAM Cycling (IAM): Mathias Frank (Che), Jarlinson Pantano (Col)
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