Having impressed already this season with second overall at the Tour Méditerranéen and fourth overall at Tirreno–Adriatico, Jean-Christophe Péraud enters the Critérium International as a favourite for the win. The Ag2r-La Mondiale leader was fifth at the three-stage, two-day race in 2013 and sixth in 2011).
While Alberto Contador was unstoppable in Italy, Péraud quietly went about his riding. Ag2r already have eight wins this season which is in stark contrast to last year when the French WorldTour team won just nine races in total.
"I absolutely felt great in Tirreno–Adriatico and I've been flying ever since. I spent a few days recovering and my training rides went very well. Now it's up to me to ride the wave. My team's also racking up good performances, we're on a roll. Seeing the others riding strong pushes us into a virtuous cycle.
Péraud is down playing chances of victory and suggested that the rider to watch will be Astana's Vincenzo Nibali. "I don't think I'm the favourite for this weekend: Nibali's palmarès is more impressive than mine, and he's even managed to beat me in all the time trials in which we've gone head-to-head.
"It's a nice one. If there's one thing I remember from previous experiences, it's that I should attack before we cross the village. Otherwise, there's always the risk I have to sprint from a small group—not the ideal scenario for me. However, earlier sections of the climb could be a great launch pad for attacks."