Coppel looking forward to Critérium du Dauphiné
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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Coppel looking forward to Critérium du Dauphiné

by Bjorn Haake at 3:27 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
But main goal is Tour de France in July

jerome coppelJérôme Coppel will prepare his second Tour de France by riding the Critérium du Dauphiné (June 5-12). The Saur-Sojasun rider finished fifth last year in the important build-up race to the Tour.

Coppel has been an aggressive racer in the past couple of seasons, netting him good results. "The Critérium du Dauphiné was the confirmation that I could keep up with the big guns," Coppel says. He was fourth last year in the stage to Alpe d'Huez. "Since this mountain stage, I know where I stand and it helped me draw a career plan. I am ambitious and I know what I'm capable of."

Coppel has made the 2011 Tour de France his main objective as he will be his team's leader. For sentimental reasons, the Critérium du Dauphiné holds a special place in his heart. "In the beginning of the season, my goal was to be good in the Spanish races because I was not scheduled to take part in Paris-Nice." He finished second in Murcia and fourth in the Ruta del Sol. "I did not win a stage but I consoled myself with a few good places," he says.

He cautions that this year the race may not go as well for him as he'd like. "My whole team wants to shine in the big races we're invited on but I won't start the Critérium du Dauphiné in a shape as good as last year's."

This year he is really aiming for the Tour de France. "In 2010, I was at my best [during the Dauphiné]. Since I'm young, I know I can't be at my best for two months and I have to be on top in July."

Coppel checked the route thoroughly and believes it will be tougher than last year. The breakaway specialist hopes to do well in the race against the clock. "The Grenoble time trial will show how I am. If I'm in overall contention after that time trial, I will try for a decent overall finish."

He has a plan B if the overall slips away. "Otherwise, I'll set my sights on a stage win. I don't think I can do both because I won't be allowed to break away if I'm close to the best in the general classification."

Coppel is uncertain about his current form. "I don't really know where I stand because I just rode the Grand Prix de Plumelec, but a decent result next week would be good for me and the team," Coppel explains.

Coppel has won six races last year, but none so far in 2011. He is hoping the Dauphiné will provide a golden opportunity.

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