The Critérium du Dauphiné (June 4-11, 2017) is often thought of as a precursor to the Tour de France (TDF). The races share a few signature climbs and, with many TDF contenders only just starting to hit their peak, the Dauphiné is a great way to gauge fitness.
Spanning eight days from June 4th to 11th, the peloton will sample the French Alps before the grueling three-week Grand Tour next month.
As usual, the favorites for the Dauphiné include many of the favorites for the Tour. Let’s take a look at the main contenders for the General Classification.
Odds to Win the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné
Chris Froome (Team Sky): 1/1
Naturally, the three-time winner (2013, 2015, 2016) and defending champ is at the top of the list for this year’s Dauphiné, just as he will be for the TDF in short order. We haven’t seen much from Froome this season, but that’s not reason to doubt him, given what he’s accomplished at this race in the past.
He was involved in a hit-and-run earlier in the month which left his bike totaled, but he emerged unscathed. There’s no reason to believe he won’t be at his best this year.
Richie Porte (Team BMC): 17/3
Richie Porte is known to struggle in the three-week Grand Tours, but when it comes to week-long stage races, the Australian tends to shine. He’s already won the Tour de Romandie and Tour Down Under this year, so he’s in great standing for the Dauphiné.
As Chris Froome’s former teammate, he’s always looking to prove that he can hold his own against his former leader.
Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale): 9/1
The 26-year-old Romain Bardet is the future of French cycling, and the weight of the nation rests on his shoulders. Last year, he finished a close second behind Froome at the Dauphiné, and then a distant second behind him at the Tour.
We haven’t seen much from Bardet this year, and in the past he’s been known to crack under the pressure. But he’s maturing every season and we should expect to see an improved Bardet at the upcoming Dauphiné.
Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo): 9/1
The seven-time Grand Tour winner is once again among the second tier of favorites for the Dauphiné. Last year, he led the General Classification for the better part of the race until Chris Froome took over in the high mountains. After losing a bunch of time in the final stage, he had to settle for fifth place.
His new team, Trek-Segafredo, isn’t exactly bursting with talent, so it may be difficult for him to find the support he needs. Still, he’s picked up some impressive results so far this season, finishing second at Paris-Nice, Vuelta a Andalucía, Volta a Catalunya, and the Tour of the Basque Country.
Alejandro Valverde (Team Movistar): 14/1
Valverde has already accomplished more this season than most will in a career. He’s won one-day races like Liège-Bastogne-Liège and La Flèche Wallonne, as well as stage races like Volta a Catalunya and the Tour of the Basque Country.
At the TDF, Valverde will be a superdomestique for Nairo Quintana as he attempts the Giro-Tour double. But with Quintana resting his legs after an exhausting Giro, Valverde will be the man to head Movistar at the Dauphiné.