|Ahead of Dauphiné Libéré
[08.06 09:29] It has been nearly a month since the beginning of the last race in the ProTour (Giro d'Italia), but this Sunday it is time for one of the famous pre-Tour races: Dauphiné Libéré, which will last till the following Sunday.
But this race is not just preparation for the Tour, it is also one of those races, where some riders are kind of taking it easy after recent trials, while others are building up towards trials ahead.
"It's always a strange race, because the riders are in so many different places on their form curves. Some are there to get that last bit out of their form from the Giro and for others it's still early days in the preps for the Tour. It's really only riders like Miguel Indurain and Lance Armstrong, who've managed to win both Dauphiné and the Tour," explains Team CSC's American veteran Bobby Julich and continues regarding his own form:
"I'm not going for the overall win in Dauphiné, but I'm hoping for a stage win and also I'm going to test myself in a couple of stages. But the general classification is not for me in this race, because I haven't taken part in any races for a month. I've been to the States training in the mountains for two weeks and for the last few days I've been training in the mountains around Nice, where I live."
"For me it's all about Tour de France. I'll have to forget this spring, because it didn't go according to plan. That's why it was so good to be in the States and unwind a bit. But I feel in great shape and hopefully I'll be peaking in the Tour. But Dauphiné Libéré has always been a tough one for me – even when I was just starting out as a pro," says Julich.
And Julich is far from alone because the best overall result for Team CSC in the race is Carlos Sastre's 14th place in 2004. It is the only time the team has had a rider in the top-20.
There are several other riders, who are well into their preparations for the Tour, while riders like Volodymir Gustov and Dave Zabriskie are arriving straight from the Giro. The latter is of course hoping for a good result in his specialty – the time trial. Here he should have a good chance since he in 2006 won both the prologue and the long time trial later on. But in the general classification Julich puts his money on Nicki Sørensen.
"Nicki has done well lately. He hasn't taken quite as long a break, but in stead he did Volta Cicilista a Catalunya, so I'm hoping he'll get a good result. Dave has to be pretty worn from the Giro," continues Julich.
"I think maybe the mountains are a bit too big for me to end up at the top in the general classification, but I'm definitely gonna give it a go and see how long I'm able to keep up with the best. But I've read that several strong profiles like Valverde, Danielson, Menchov and others are aiming high in this race, so we'll have to wait and see," says Nicki Sørensen.
For a young rider like Chris Anker Sørensen the Dauphiné Libéré is a major goal, which he has been training for for some time. Bobby Julich is looking forward to checking that out.
"I'm really excited to see how Chris Anker does – not just now, but in general. Recently we've watched Andy Schleck's break through with great admiration, but Chris Anker also has major potential as well as a good attitude. I was very impressed with him in Tour de Romandie – he isn't scared of helping his teammates or going for it in the long breaks."
Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré; Results