Best of the rest
Best of the rest
Last year’s race proves anything can happen at the Dauphine, and anybody can announce themselves a contender ahead of the Tour de France.
Several young riders have a chance of doing just that, including last year’s best young rider Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo).
Seventh at the Giro d’Italia last year, Kelderman has built towards the Tour de France this year and so arrives at a race he finished fourth at in 2014 fresher and with a great chance of a podium.
Also looking to improve on impressive showings last year will be rising British star Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE), who was sixth last time out and finished ninth at Tirreno-Adriatico in March.
He and brother and team-mate Simon Yates, who finished inside the top ten at both the Tour of the Basque Country and Tour de Romandie, will hope to add to their ever-increasing reputations.
French hopefuls Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) – the latter racing on the back of a strong spring and a narrow second place at the Tour of California – will also fly the flag for the future generation.
At the other end of the scale, Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) could well be the oldest man in the race at 38 year’s old, but after finishing second at the Tour de France last year and earlier this year winning the Criterium International, he should not be written off.
Other riders with wins already to their name this year include Tour of Oman champion Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida), who was also in the top ten at Paris-Nice and the Tour of Catalunya.
He and team-mate Rui Costa, who will ride the Dauphine at the expense of bidding for a fourth straight Tour de Suisse win, lead a Lampre-Merida team which enjoyed four stage wins at the Giro d’Italia and so will be keen to carry that momentum to the Tour.