The Criterium du Dauphine starting on Sunday launches the final countdown for the Arkea-Samsic leaders and their team mates ahead of the Tour de France. The weeklong race will allow Warren Barguil and Andre Greipel to test themselves less than a month before the Grand Depart in Brussels.
Warren Barguil :
“I am really happy to be at the start of the Criterium du Dauphine. I’m far from having got the results I wanted in the early season but I ope this is behind me now. Before I started racing against at the GP Plumelec, I had a bit of apprehension but once I was on the bike it just clicked.
I believed in myself and the offensive Warren is back. The final countdown is on. A good preparation for July means a good Criterium du Dauphine. I am motivated, and I hope I will be on the attack.”
André Greipel : “It was not easy after the Four Days of Dunkirk but I’m still in the game. I feel rested, I’ve gone through tough training sessions and now I have to transpose that into the races. I am ready for a difficult week, it’s necessary to go through this to be ready for the next objectives. There won’t be a lot of opportunities for sprinters but it’s ok, I just want to be on my bike and give my best.”
Yvon Ledanois – directeur sportif : “The Criterium du Dauphine is an important event for us. We must honour our selection, it’s a great opportunity to take part in a high-level race. It will be the first big race after their break for Andre Greipel and Warren Barguil, it’s an important one ahead of the Tour de France for them.We have two leaders at the start, it has not happened a lot this season, just on Paris-Nice and the Tour of Catalunya but we did not learn much from these races. This week, Andre will not get many sprinting opportunities. Hoping that he will be at 100% to fight for victory, he will be assisted by Kevin Ledanois and Florian Vachon. The idea for Warren is that he finishes fresher than at the start having played a role in the race. He has the condition and the freshness. The selection for the race was obvious to me and so will be that of the Tour de France. Every rider will have a precise role this week. The route is often hilly, we won’t get three sprints. There is no high mountain stage but it’s sometimes harder to deal with. In Aurillac, at the end of the first stage, there won’t be 100 riders for a sprint. The easiest one might be the third, which finishes in Riom. For us the three days before the time trial are very important. Our weekend will depend on what we will do in the first three days and we will try to get something from this opening block of racing.
The end of the week is super hard but it’s perfect for Warren, to help him build his self-confidence. The route suits him well.”