Criterium du Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse are the very last events that Team Managers use to take their final decision regarding the team of 9 riders they will select for Tour de France. It is without surprise that most of the main GC riders compete in one of these events.
Criterium du Dauphine is a one week race made for climbers. Mainly located in the French Alps, this race is a perfect training for the Tour de France. Until the two last kilometers of the week, we were not sure about the rider who will finish in yellow. Even if the fight for green jersey was done after two stage victories of N.Bouhanni (Cofidis), we thought that it will be harder for MTN-Qhubeka rider Daniel Teklehaimanot to keep the polka dot jersey, but the African rider managed his week in a perfect way and won this coveted jersey.
On the GC side, the first mountain stage awarded T.Van Garderen (BMC). But other favorites such as C.Froome (Sky) or V.Nibali (Astana) tried to take the leader’s jersey. 2014 Tour de France winner, Nibali , took the yellow jersey the day after with 42” on Van Garderen. But we saw a Nibali with ups and downs and the rider from BMC took back the GC lead on stage 7 while C.Froome took the stage victory. The 8th and last stage promised to be epic and it was. While Nibali was out of the main group, the British rider attacked in the last 2km. Van Garderen tried to resist, but exploded and the rider from Sky won the stage and took the yellow jersey for 10”. Rui Costa from Lampre Merida, made a great last stage and finished 3rd in GC.
With Tour de France in sight, some riders prefer to compete in Tour de Suisse as the two events are very close to each other and there is no need to train again to get fit for TdF; after Switzerland you just need to rest. The first stage was a prologue. Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) took the start despite a difficult pre-race week due to illness, and finished 2nd and Matthias Braendle (IAM Cycling) 3rd. Stage 2 was the first mountain stage won by Kristijan Durasek from Lampre Merida. Julian Arredondo from Trek Factory Racing took the 3rd place.
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff Saxo) showed he was back on track and won 2 stages.
French Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) was a big surprise when we saw him in the sprints among the specialists. Thibaut took the leader’s jersey after the most difficult mountain stage and kept it during 4 days. But Thibaut ’s main rivals Geraint (Sky) and Spilak (Katusha) were on fire during the last stage and its difficult ITT. The rider from FDJ did not have enough advance to resist and finished 4th overall.