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Jonas Vingegaard receives marquee billing for his final Tour de France tuneup in June. That’s what happens when you win the yellow jersey.
The defending Tour champion is the man to beat in the 75th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné as the Dane puts the finishing touches next month on his Tour de France preparation.
Last year, Vingegaard rode the vapors of his Jumbo-Visma teammate Primož Roglič to confirm his credentials for the 2022 Tour as the pair finished one-two last summer. Weeks after finishing second, he pulled off what many didn’t think was possible, and he beat Tadej Pogačar last July for the yellow jersey.
Vingegaard is the headline name for the 2023 edition of the Dauphiné, long considered the proving ground for Tour-bound favorites.
Other big stars confirmed by race organizers include David Gaudu, Mikel Landa, Enric Mas, Adam Yates, Egan Bernal, and Richard Carapaz.
Julian Alaphilippe, whose return to the highest level is eagerly awaited by the French fans after a string of crashes and physical woes that have dented his form, could also turn a corner in the Dauphiné.
“The Critérium du Dauphiné, a week-long showdown for all-rounders, is a litmus test that gauges the potential of the favorites to shine in July. Will the pedal strokes between Chambon-sur-Lac, near Clermont-Ferrand, and the Bastille in Grenoble make sparks fly and bathe the air in bright yellow?” a press note said Wednesday.
The eight-stage race will see the best version of Vingegaard as he prepares for the title defense in July at the Tour.
With Pogačar still nursing his wrist injury suffered at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and Roglič recovering from the Giro, Vingegaard will be the man to beat.
Vingegaard took an impressive victory at the Vuelta a País Vasco in April, and returns to racing after a long training camp at altitude.
Others looking to show something during the Dauphiné will be Landa, who is betting everything on the Tour that will start in his home region of Spain’s Basque Country next month.
Gaudu, Mas, Yates, and Carapaz are also racing with something to show ahead of July, when all of them will lead their respective teams. Good legs in June often bode well for success in July.
All eyes will be on Egan Bernal and a possible return to the Tour next month. A good race at the Dauphiné could open the door for a return to the Tour for the 2019 winner.
Matteo Jorgenson and Lawson Craddock will both race ahead of what’s expected to be a Tour de France return for both riders.
Follow all the action VeloNews next month.
Preliminary start list and early confirmed leaders
Jayco AlUla: Groenewegen (NED) and Craddock (USA)
Bahrain-Victorious: Landa (ESP) and Haig (AUS)
Soudal Quick-Step: Alaphilippe, Cavagna (FRA) and Bagioli (ITA)
Lotto Dstny: Kron (DEN), Van Gils and Campenaerts (BEL)
Alpecin–Deceuninck: Stannard (AUS)
Intermarché–Circus–Wanty: Meintjes (RSA)
Bora–Hansgrohe: Hindley (AUS), Bennett (IRL), Buchmann and Politt (GER)
AG2R Citroën Team: O’Connor (AUS), Bonnamour (FRA) and Van Avermaet (BEL)
Groupama–FDJ: Gaudu, Madouas and Martinez (Fra)
Cofidis: Martin, Perez and Zingle (FRA)
Team Arkéa–Samsic: Champoussin, Delaplace, Hofstetter (Fra)
TotalEnergies: Latour, Vuillermoz (FRA) and Boasson Hagen (NOR)
Astana Qazaqstan Team: De la Cruz (ESP)
Jumbo–Visma: Vingegaard (DEN), Laporte (FRA) and Van Baarle (NED)
DSM: Combaud (FRA) and Poole (GBR)
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team: T. Johannessen (NOR) and Charmig (DEN)
Movistar Team: Mas (ESP) and Jorgenson (USA)
UAE Team Emirates: Soler (ESP), Yates (GBR), Trentin (ITA) and Großschartner (AUT)
Ineos Grenadiers: Bernal, Martínez (COL), Rodríguez (ESP) and Hayter (GBR)
EF Education–EasyPost: Carapaz (ECU) and Chaves (COL)
Trek–Segafredo: Ciccone (ITA) and López (ESP)