Dan Martin will lead UAE Team Emirates at the Critérium du Dauphiné which starts this Sunday, but the Irishman feels that his form will be a little behind what it would normally be for this time of year.

Martin has performed well at the race before. In 2015, he finished seventh overall and was third the following year behind Chris Froome (Team Sky). In last year’s race, Martin again finished in third place overall, 1’32” behind winner Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) with Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team) finishing second.

“The Critérium du Dauphiné is always a good test before the Tour de France, but given that this year there’s an extra week between the end and the start of the Tour de France, I expect that my form will be slightly behind with respect to the past years,” confirmed Martin.

“The training period leading up to this has gone well and my feelings are good, but it’s true that this is a very different race. The most important thing will be to get rhythm in my legs, race freely and end it with a precise idea of my form for the Tour.

“The Dauphiné is important also because it’s a mini-Tour de France, with an individual time trial, a team time trial – things that are hard to mimic in training – and because we race on some of the same roads that we are going to face in the 11th stage of the Tour.”

Lining up alongside Martin on the UAE Team Emirates line-up will be Sven Erik Bystrøm, Valerio Conti, Manuele Mori, Simone Petilli, Edward Ravasi and Rory Sutherland .

The race in southeast France opens with an individual time trial of 6.6 kilometres. It continues with two flat stages finishing in Just-Saint-Rambert and Belleville. The third stage will be the team time trial followed by two summit finish stages at Lans-en-Vercors and Valmorel.

The second-last stage follows what the riders will face in the 11th stage of the Tour de France, 110 kilometres from Frontenex to La Rosière Espace San Bernardo. The last stage covers 129 kilometres, finishing with a climb to Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc.


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