In cycling, the art of timing has its own rules and mysteries. Some are ruthless when it comes to penalising a lack of preparation or an unwise decision to compete. Others cannot be calculated or compared to statistics which are no longer relevant when faced with the reality of a terrain which is sometimes unconquerable and the uncertain outcome of the confrontations between champions. In this respect, the Critérium du Dauphiné has established itself as a moment of absolute truth every year. The challenge of a prestigious victory in one of the toughest races of the season requires riders to be in the best form and the imminence of the major event to come, the Tour de France, must not be overlooked.
This formula with many unknown factors was brilliantly resolved by the last two winners. Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome continued their dominating streak all the way Paris, at the end of the month of July, having impressed everyone and added their names to the winners' list in the Alps at the beginning of June. The performance of the two Brits was nevertheless was an exceptional occurrence in the history of the Dauphiné, which often provides some valuable insights without predicting what will happen during the Tour. Much prized information will be gleaned this year between Lyon and Courchevel. The drastic reduction in the number of kilometres to be covered in the time trial stage will result in a greater degree of uncertainty with regard to the battle of the summits. This is also the approach which has been adopted by the Tour!