Critérium du Dauphiné: Menchov, Martin, Cobo, Brajkovic and Vinokourov amongst ‘chiefs’ for race
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Friday, June 01, 2012

Critérium du Dauphiné: Menchov, Martin, Cobo, Brajkovic and Vinokourov amongst ‘chiefs’ for race

by Shane Stokes at 10:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Critérium du Dauphiné
 
More teams confirm line-up for big pre-Tour de France event

Denis MenchovPushing towards what he hopes will be overall victory in the Tour de France, double Tour podium finisher Denis Menchov is one of several big guns who will line out in the Critérium du Dauphiné on Sunday. The Russian has recovered from the tendonitis which affected him recently and will be accompanied by a solid Katusha team in the race.

Last year’s double stage winner Joaquim Rodriguez has decided to give the event a miss, being fatigued after finishing second overall in the Giro d’Italia. Menchov will be backed by Maxim Belkov, Xavier Florencio, Petr Ignatenko, Alberto Losada, Daniel Moreno, Yuriy Trofimov and Eduard Vorganov in the eight day WorldTour event.

The Astana team will feature two former winners, namely the 1999 champion Alexandre Vinokourov and the 2010 victor Jani Brajkovic. Directeur sportif Giudo Bontempi says that a break in racing means that many of the riders will only know about their full condition when they are competing in the event, but believes that the 2010 winner will be in good shape.

“I think that Brajkovič could have a major role in Saturday and Sunday’s stages, when we will be facing two high-mountain days,” he said. “The long individual time trial, meanwhile, will be a test for Vinokourov, after which we will have a clear idea about his form in terms of the Tour de France.”

Also lining out is Borut Bozič, Dmitry Fofonov, Andriy Grivko, Maxim Iglinskiy, Andrey Kashechkin and Egor Silin.

One of the big rivals for Mechov, Brajkovic and Vinokourov is likely to be Bradley Wiggins, who has said that he is gunning to repeat his overall victory of 2011. Another is world time trial champion Tony Martin, who has two chances to win against the clock, and who could take the overall standings if his climbing is strong enough.

Omega Pharma Quick Step directeur sportif Brian Holm regards the race as an important preparation for the Tour, and names two of the team’s riders as contenders for TT success plus possibly the overall. “The prologue on Sunday and the long time trial next Thursday will be two important tests for Tony Martin, fresh off his success at the Tour of Belgium and for Sylvain Chavanel, who is returning to racing after a period of high altitude training,” he said. “The squad is well balanced and ready to make their mark on the roads of the Dauphiné. The time trial and the last two days on the Alps will be decisive for the final classification.”

Also appearing on the team will be Gerald Ciolek, Kevin De Weert, Dries Devenyns, Jerome Pineau, Bert Grabsch and Stijn Vandenbergh. Holm will take a wait and see approach. “Day after day we'll see how to develop our racing tactics based on the conditions of our athletes and the route,” he said.

Meanwhile the Movistar team will take some of the riders who could ride the Tour de France, including Vuelta a Espana Juan Jose Cobo, Vasil Kiryienka, David Arroyo, Imanol Erviti and Rubén Plaza. Also on the squad are Giovanni Visconti, Nairo Quintana and Giro stage winner Andrey Amador.

Cobo is yet to take a result of note this year but will hope that a recent altitude training camp in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Granada will pay off.

The lineup has also been confirmed for the Saxo Bank team, with climbers Daniel Navarro and Jesus Hernandez being joined by Juan Jose Haedo, Nicki Sørensen, Jonathan Cantwell, Kasper Klostergaard, David Tanner and Bruno Pires.

With former race runner-up Alberto Contador no longer part of the team due to his ban – but being predicated to return in August - the Saxo Bank selection is likely to target stage wins rather than the GC.

Click here for details of the route:

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