American Andrew Talansky will captain the Cannondale-Drapac squad at the Critérium du Dauphiné, which begins Sunday in Saint-Etienne. Talansky, 28, won the race in 2014, with a last-stage move that confounded Alberto Contador and Chris Froome, as the two didn’t take chase quick enough.
This season, Talansky is fresh off a win atop Mt. Baldy in the Tour of California’s queen stage, where he finished third overall.
“Baldy and the Tour of California in general was a great week for the team. We really enjoyed the race and built some positive momentum heading into the summer,” Talansky said. “Baldy confirmed that everything is progressing smoothly. If we can carry that mentality, that way of racing into the remainder of the season, I have no doubt we will be successful. I’m feeling good physically and mentally.”
Joining Talansky are Alberto Bettiol, Nate Brown, Brendan Canty, Simon Clarke, Davide Formolo, Sebastian Langeveld and Dylan Van Baarle. Andres Klier and Ken Vanmarcke will direct.
“This year’s Dauphiné is pretty much straight forward. We expect a very intense first stage in which we will try to win but at the same time we have to see that our GC idea doesn’t suffer,” said Klier. “The first stage’s final is a tricky one and we have to be awake and ready to race. Later on in the week we get pure mountain stages and a TT, which will show us clearly how competitive we are on the general classification. Besides the few sprint stages, we are absolutely competitive and we have riders who are able to win a stage.”
This running of the Dauphiné will feature two summit finishes — one on Alpe d’Huez and the next atop Plateau de Solaison on the race’s final day — and one 23.5 kilometer time trial. The parcours, coupled with the lineup of those attending (Froome, Contador and Alejandro Valverde, among others), will deliver a notable winner.
“We have a really good team and I hope we can show ourselves,” said Van Baarle. “We have Formolo and Talansky for the big mountain stages and Simon and Alberto for the harder sprint stages. I’m looking forward to racing again.”
Van Baarle is coming off his classics campaign where he was fourth at the Tour of Flanders and now looking to tune his form toward stage racing. He’s recently been training in France and working on his climbing. “My goal for this Dauphiné is to get stronger on the climbs and hopefully the shape is better when I come out,” he said.
“I think the team has opportunities to win stages and end up with a nice overall GC result. Formolo is clearly strong coming out of the Giro with a top-10 placing. For me personally, I’ll do the best race I can, same as at California,” Talansky said. “I have always enjoyed Dauphine. It fits nicely in the build up towards July, but really it’s a great race in its own right. I think it’s always an exciting week and I’m looking forward to heading back.”
Cannondale-Drapac for 2017 Criterium du Dauphiné
Alberto Bettiol (ITA)
Nate Brown (USA)
Brendan Canty (AUS)
Simon Clarke (AUS)
Davide Formolo (ITA)
Sebastian Langeveld (NLD)
Andrew Talansky (USA)
Dylan Van Baarle (NLD)