|Route map of the 2013 Criterium du Dauphiné - Lot's of fun in the Alps, including Stage 8's trip up the world famous Alp D'Huez.|
Tune up? This is the moniker frequently given to the Criterium du Dauphiné, arguably the most prestigious elite level stage race that is not a Grand Tour. The list of former champions reads as a who's who of the greatest cyclists in history including each of the 5 time winners of Le Tour de France, as well as the only former 5 time winner. Additionally, eight Dauphiné champions have gone on to win Le Tour in the same year, with the latest being last years champ - Sir Bradley Wiggins (A.K.A. Beaker). Tune up or not, thanks to it's consistently tough mountain stages, the Dauphiné has showcased some of the best racing on the pro tour, year after year.
With Chris Froome looking like a lock to win the 2013 edition, one would get good odds on the chances of Sky securing another Dauphiné/Tour double come July. A double/double would be a huge accomplishment for the British squad, and if it happens, I will eat one of these in their honor.