The Criterium du Dauphine' is one of the final tune up stage races as the pros get ready for the Tour de France. The Dauphine' is great training because it follows many of the routes used on the le Tour. The stages in the week long race will also often mimic stages the riders will experience in July. In the past several years the winner of the Dauphine' has gone on to win the Tour de France.
This year's edition of the race rolls through the Rhone Valley and through Provence before heading back for a couple of mountainous stages to wrap things up with a bang. The race featured the top contenders for the Tour de France. Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali are expected to be the top three riders battling for the crown in July. They did not disappoint in this year's Dauphine with numerous attacks and spirited uphill skirmishes.
In the end, Andrew Talansky took the overall victory. Nobody saw that coming. Well, maybe the Garmin Director Sportif, Jonathan Vaughters saw it. But he would have been the only one outside the Garmin team. Talansky took the (well earned) overall victory on the final stage of the race.
This week's Lucha Vino matchup takes a trip to the south of France with a tour de force through the Cotes du Rhone AOC.
2008 Brian Carter Byzance v. 2011 Alain Jaume & Fils Domaine Grand Veneur Les Champouvins