Recent Tour de Hongrie winner Damien Howson and young 22-year-old Robert Stannard lead Team BikeExchange at the eight-day Criterium du Dauphine later this week, as the team go on the offensive, eyeing stage wins and a high overall placing.
The diverse line-up allows the squad to make the most of opportunities that may present themselves during the French tour, with talent ranging from older experienced riders in American Brent Bookwalter, Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay and Kazakh Andrey Zeits, who returns to competition after crashing out of Coppi Bartali in March.
Balancing out the squad and adding an ounce of youthful motivation alongside Stannard will be Hungarian Barnabás Peák and Italian climber Kevin Colleoni, ready for the tough eight-day race, which often sees many riders arriving in top form in preparation for the Tour de France starting later in the month.
Team BikeExchange at Criterium du Dauphine:
Brent Bookwalter (USA)
Kevin Colleoni (ITA)
Barnabás Peák (HUN)
Damien Howson (AUS)
Tsgabu Grmay (ETH)
Robert Stannard (AUS)
Andrey Zeits (KAZ)
“Dauphine can be one of the most demanding one-week races on the calendar with many riders going there in top shape, for a lot of the field it is their final preparation race before the Tour de France so there is not surprise to how difficult it can be.
This year will be my eighth Dauphine, I have done it every year since I turned professional back in 2014 so I know what to expect and I think I can go into this race with a fair bit of confidence from my win last week at the Tour de Hongrie.
We have a good group of guys to take opportunities and mix it amongst all terrains and stages of this race. I hope to be consistent and look for a nice result next week.”
Laurenzo Lapage – Sport Director
“We have a good mixed team for the race and Rob Stannard has shown in Ruta del Sol recently that he is in good shape after taking multiple top-10 stage placings and coming close to a stage win, so he will be a rider we can look to for stage results during the week.
The general classification will be a hard fight, many riders use Dauphine as their preparations for the Tour and it is always a hard race. Damien Howson just came off an overall victory at the Tour de Hongrie, so we also know he is in good shape and can be an option for us for the overall.
With the team we have, there’s a lot of strength and a mix of youth and experienced riders so we can really look to use our numbers and race aggressively.”
2021 Criterium du Dauphine Race Details:
Sunday, 30th May: Stage 1, Issoire to Issoire, 182km
Monday, 31st May: Stage 2, Brioude to Saugues, 173km
Tuesday, 1st June: Stage 3, Langeac to Saint-Haon-Le-Vieux, 172.5km
Wednesday, 2nd June: Stage 4, Firminy to Roche-La-Moliere
Thursday, 3rd June: Stage 5, Saint-Chamond to Saint-Vallier, 175.4km
Friday, 4th June: Stage 6, Loriol-Sur-Drome to Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse, 167.5km
Saturday, 5th June: Stage 7, Saint-Martin-Le-Vinoux to La Plange, 171.5km
Sunday, 6th June: Stage 8, La Lechere-les-Bains to Les Gets, 147km
Photo courtesy of Vanik Zoltan
— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com