Preview: Criterium du Dauphine

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The Criterium du Dauphine has always been seen as the precursor to the Tour de France. With Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung all set to start the Grande Boucle in July, the Criterium du Dauphine will form part of our African teams final build up to the Tour.

The Criterium du Dauphine is an 8 stage UCI World Tour event that gets underway on Sunday 7 June. As Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali are expected to start, and with a number of the same roads being used as in the Tour de France, one would think it could be a dress rehearsal for what is to come in a month’s time.

A demanding course lies ahead of the peloton over the coming 8 days. Stages 1, 2 and 4 are the only possible stages that could see a bunch kick, but that is a real maybe as the routes are littered with cat 3 climbs as well as the cat 1 Col de Cuvery on stage 2. Stage 3 is an undulating 24.5km team time trial, which will serve as a good test considering stage 9 of the Tour de France is 28km team test against the clock. The race will be won over the final 4 stages, as each are raced through the high mountains with all concluding with a summit finish.

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will head to the start of the Dauphine with a team made up totally by the riders selected on our Tour de France long list. Our 3 South Africans, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg & Louis Meintjes all start. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Steve Cummings, Tyler Farrar & Serge Pauwels will also all line up on Sunday with Daniel Teklehaimanot completing our roster.

African fans will be able to watch all the action live on Supersport 5 & 6. See www.supersport.com for the broadcast schedule.

Louis Meintjes – Rider

I have been working hard with the team the last two weeks at altitude so hopefully it pays off. I am excited to get back to racing and hopefully the team will be able to gain some confidence at the Dauphine in our build up to the Tour de France.

Jens Zemke – Head of Performance

It will be our debut appearance at the Dauphine as our team has never raced this World Tour event before. It will be a good final test for the Tour de France. To get a good result will always be difficult at this caliber of race but our team will fight for opportunities. We are also happy to have Edvald Boasson Hagen back after he won the final stage of Tour des Fjords last Sunday.

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