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"Pierre Rolland will be the leader, with Cyril Gautier and Thomas Voeckler as road captains.This year, Romain Sicard has had an ideal preparation for the Tour de France, so we also expect him to be at a go...

Photo: Sirotti














03.06.2015 @ 12:36 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Led by Pierre Rolland, the riders of Team Europcar will be at start of the Critérium du Dauphiné on Sunday. Sports director Andy Flickinger is ambitious for the French race.


It is not a surprise that the Critérium du Dauphiné is often the great dress rehearsal for the Tour de France. But Team Europcar does not line up only to prepare: "We are here to achieve the results that correspond to out good riders who are fit. We hope to make a good general classification, target stage wins and be present in the breakaways."


The selected team looks great and could allow the team to continue its good momentum. Everyone will have their role to play. "Pierre Rolland will be the leader, with Cyril Gautier and Thomas Voeckler as road captains.This year Romain Sicard has had an ideal preparation for the Tour de France, so we also expect him to be at a good level."


He had to change the initial selection due to unexpected events: "We have had a bit of bad luck with Maxime Médérel who broke his collarbone. We would have liked to have Fabrice Jeandesboz at the start, but his wife is about to give birth sowe changed our plans. It will be a mixture of experience and youth, including Romain Guillemois. We will also play the card of Yannick Martinez in the sprints."



"It is a course that suits us well. It is fairly mountainous, with only one team time trial that should not create big differences," Andy Flickinger said. "You have to be present every day and that is what makes the course difficult."


On Sunday, the riders will face a first day with a leg-breaking circuit around Albertville that the riders will do five times. In total, the stage includes 8 ascents of the third or fourth category. "The big teams don't want to win the first stage to avoid having to bear the weight of the jersey from the start. From the first stage, there is a room for us, for sure," Flickinger said.


The Critérium will have its queen stage on Saturday, June 13, with five category 1 climbs on the menu.


"This is a series of difficulties, including the Forclaz climb. This stage should create big gaps before the next day which is also very hard. The sixth stage could bring a lot of surprises: with a mountaintop finish in Villard-de-Lans, there might already be good gaps here. The Col du Rousset (at km 132) is a long climb, and everything is possible."


For the first time, the Critérium du Dauphiné will tackle the Montvernier, a challenge which is also found on the Tour de France course and which has impressed observers: "It will be a discovery for everybody for the month of July, but not an overwhelming difficulty in the Dauphiné. With its position in the stage, it will not have a big influence. However, in the Tour de France , the finish will be just after this climb."



"Of our 8 riders present at the start of the Dauphiné, half of them are sure to be at the Tour de France: Romain Sicard, Pierre Rolland, Cyril Gautier and Thomas Voeckler. Then there will be Bryan Coquard course and four open spots.


With the Tour of Luxembourg , Boucles de la Mayenne , Criterium du Dauphine and Route du Sud, "there is a good race program that should allow the riders to show themselves. We will use those races to make our selection."


The final roster will be unveiled just after the French Championships."



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