2011 Criterium du Dauphine - A Look at the Challengers

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06/4/2011| 0 comments
by Thomas A. Valentinsen
Cadel Evans. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Cadel Evans. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

2011 Criterium du Dauphine - A Look at the Challengers

Facing a Contador no-show, all the 2011 Tour de France overall victory outsiders will be riding the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine (Dauphine Libere) starting Sunday. Following a long period of out-of-competition preparation, they all know the race is an important test before the Tour de France.

Facing a Contador no-show, all the 2011 Tour de France overall victory outsiders will be riding the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine (Dauphine Libere) starting Sunday. Following a long period of out-of-competition preparation, they all know the race is an important test before the Tour de France.

Roadcycling.com provides our readers with a look at the Tour de France challengers who will take part in the Criterium du Dauphine 2011.

Ivan Basso (33, Team Liquigas-Cannondale)
Ivan Basso suffered a lot during the 2010 Tour de France after surprisingly winning the Giro d'Italia earlier last season. This year, as he looks to prevail in July, the Italian radically changed his race program. He rode four one-week stage races (2011 Tirreno-Adriatico, the Tour of Catalunya, the Tour of the Basque Country and the Tour de Romandie) and planned several training camps in high altitude. He will be in the Criterium du Dauphine gunning for a stage win after missing out on it in 2004 when he finished fourth in Grenoble.

Cadel Evans (34, Team BMC Racing)
Former World Champion and Australian Cadel Evans also decided to skip the Giro d'Italia after attempting the Giro-Tour double last year. Following his victories in the 2011 Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie, the 2009 world champion is the hot favourite of the Criterium du Dauphine, where he finished second overall in three occasions.

Robert Gesink (25, Rabobank)
The Dutchman, who won the Tour of Oman earlier this year, will take part in the Criterium du Dauphine for the fourth time. It will be the Rabobank climber's first race since the spring Ardennes classics. He will rely on the support of a strong team with Carlos Barredo, Lars Boom, Juan Manuel Garate and Luis Leon Sanchez at his service. Fourth overall in 2008 and 2009, he will be aiming for a stage win and hoping to optimize his team in time for the Tour de France 2011.

Samuel Sanchez (33, Euskaltel-Euskadi)
The Basque team usually shines in every edition of the Criterium du Dauphine. This year, Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez will be looking to finally clinch a win in a prestigious stage race. Sanchez finished fifth overall in Paris-Nice and sixth in the Tour of the Basque country. He did not take part in the Ardennes classics, but he is rumored to be in great form.

Alexandre Vinokourov (37, Team Astana)
In his last season, the Kazakh rider ill definitely be looking to shine in a race he won in 1999, where he also claimed a stage win. Vinokourov also clinched victory in 2005 on top of the Mont Ventoux and grabbed two stage wins in 2007. Climbers Remy Di Gregorio and Frederik Kessiakof, as well as his lieutenants Maxim Iglinsky and Andriy Grivko will be helping him out.

Bradley Wiggins (31, Team Sky)
Unlike last year, the Briton skipped the Giro, which is expected to be the hardest three week race of the season. Wiggins instead opted to ride the Criterium du Dauphine, where he will test himself in the mountains. Following his victory in the 2011 Bayern

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