When it comes to the role that the Critérium du Dauphiné plays for future Tour de France winners, the June race has cemented itself as the launch pad towards the maillot jaune.
After pulling out of the Giro d’Italia due to a knee injury, Tom Dumoulin is set to return to racing at the upcoming Critérium du Dauphiné as he builds toward a Tour de France start.
“Critérium du Dauphiné presents a challenging course throughout the race with a particularly difficult final stage,” said Sunweb’s coach Aike Visbeek.
“Our main focus will be stage success and we aim to achieve that by riding both offensively and attentively throughout the week. The early stages will be contested by Joris and Casper, who are both in great shape with some solid results in recent races. If all continues according to plan, Tom will make his return to racing at the Dauphiné after injuring his knee at the Giro d’Italia.
“His recovery has been slower than we hoped for and he will undergo a final MRI scan tomorrow [Thursday], as a final check before he heads to France. Then he will use Dauphiné to get back into racing rhythm for bigger goals in July. We’ll take a day-by-day approach, taking no risk and with no focus on the GC. Alongside Tom, we also have Martijn (Tusveld) back from injury which is great, and Robert fully recovered, after his Giro was also ended early after a crash.”
If Dumoulin returns to a good shape during the French race, he could also start in the Tour de France, although this hasn’t been confirmed by his team.
Critérium du Dauphiné gets underway in Aurillac on Sunday, June 9.