With the Dauphiné Libéré providing a stage on which the Tour de France contenders will perform, the CSC team will rally behind its man Carlos Sastre, but will be hoping to take out a stage win. "We've got various cards to play – the only thing we don't have is a sprinter," said director sportif Scott Sunderland. "We're not doing this race just for the fun of it – we're going out there determined to win a stage. We've got lots of riders who're able to make breaks and try for a stage win.
"Carlos is going to try his best to be among the best in the mountains during the second half of the race and he'll have all the help he needs with several strong mountain riders around him." While the big climbs like the Mont Ventoux and Col de Galibier aren't featured in this year's edition, Sunderland says that hard climbs like the Col de Joux-Plane and Col de la Croix de Fer will still make the race hard.
"There's still plenty of tough mountains in the race so no doubt it'll still be exciting."
CSC: Carlos Sastre, Lars Bak, Iñigo Cuesta, Alexandr Kolobnev, Karsten Kroon, Marcus Ljungqvist, Chris Anker Sørensen and Nicki Sørensen.
While the Dauphiné Libéré will be the last French race before the Tour de France, the Lampre team will be without Damiano Cunego, who elected to train the roads of the Tour's Italian stage, and then use the Tour de Suisse as preparation for July's big event. Without its leader, the Lampre squad will be seeking stage wins.
Lampre: Emanuele Bindi, Paolo Fornaciari, Roberto Longo, Mirco Lorenzetto, Mauro Santambrogio, Sylvester Szmyd and Daniele Righi.
The AG2R La Mondiale team will head into the race without defending champion Christophe Moreau, whose contract was not extended. Without a outright favourite as team leader, the AG2R squad will be another group seeking stage wins and hoping to place a rider on the peloton. Manager Vincent Lavenu thinks the mountains stages will prove more difficult than they look on paper.
"There may be some surprises from the beginning of Annemasse with the Salève, a very steep climb," said Lavenu. "The next day Col de Joux-Plane, well known to the peloton, could do major damage. And then of course the stage Saturday will be crucial with the Col de la Croix de Fer and the finish at the summit Toussuire. But this year nothing will be decided until the end, because the stage to Grenoble is still very difficult and the leader can lose there. This Dauphiné looks nervous and very interesting."
AG2R La Mondiale: Cyril Dessel, Vladimir Efimkin, John Gadret, Stéphane Goubert, José Luis Arrieta, Hubert Dupont, Julien Loubet, Christophe Riblon.
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