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Gesink, Martin look to Dauphiné time trial as Tour test

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German Tony Martin fulfilled his promise in the Paris-Nice time trial

German Tony Martin fulfilled his promise in the Paris-Nice time trial (Image credit: Fabrice Lambert)
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Robert Gesink (Rabobank) finished ninth

Robert Gesink (Rabobank) finished ninth (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Local hero Robert Gesink (Rabobank)

Local hero Robert Gesink (Rabobank) (Image credit: Stephen Farrand)

Rabobank's Robert Gesink and HTC-Highroad's Tony Martin are just two of the top climbers who will look to the Criterium du Dauphiné for the final true test of form ahead of the Tour de France.

The race offers a unique opportunity to preview a Tour stage in competition, since the stage 3 42.5km time trial in Grenoble exactly mirrors that of the penultimate stage of the Tour de France.

"It's a first. This never happened before and it will obviously be a genuine test for the Tour contenders, not just a reconnaissance. All kind of riders will find what they're looking for in this route. The two big difficulties of the week will be this time trial and the ascent to the Col du Glandon before the finish in La Toussuire on the last day," said race director Bernard Thevenet.

Brian Holm, directeur sportif for HTC-Highroad, said, "Tony Martin will be seeing what he can do in the Grenoble time trial, which is identical to the one in the Tour, so that's a great opportunity for him to get to know it."

Gesink, who last year rode the Tour de Suisse in preparation for the Tour is hoping to show off his much improved time trialing abilities on Wednesday.

The Dutch rider won the 18.5km time trial en route to overall victory in the Tour of Oman at the start of the year, and since then has placed top 10 in both the Tirreno-Adriatico and Vuelta al Pais Vasco tests.

Rabobank for Critérium du Dauphiné: Carlos Barredo, Lars Boom, Juanma Garate, Robert Gesink, Luis Léon Sanchez, Paul Martens, Grischa Niermann and Maarten Tjallingii

HTC-Highroad for Criterium du Dauphiné: John Degenkolb, Jan Ghyselinck, Tony Martin, Danny Pate, Frantisek Rabon, Kanstantsin Sivtsov, Gatis Smukulis