Switzerland has some of the most dramatic climbs in the world but despite their jaw dropping curves the gradients tend to be at the more manageable end of the scale. Two time trials break up the week so expect the GC to be a controlled affair with the main favourites trying to make the difference in the time trials.
The final 40km of stage 2 of Le Tour is likely to be action packed. The terrain will see to it that attacks will come and the cream of the world’s professional cyclists will emerge at the front to do battle until the finish in Sheffield. The roads here are largely within the Strines region which cyclists from Yorkshire and the Peak District know very well. Many local pros, past and present, have utilised the repeated steep climbs in the area to hone their racing fitness. The Strines Road itself is a notoriously steep stretch of tarmac which begins at the A616 at Midhopestones and terminates at the A57 after 15 rollercoaster kilometres. The Tour riders won’t cover the full length but they will tackle the most severe sections before turning off east towards High Bradfield and further sharp ascents on the approach to Sheffield.
One of my favourite races of the Pro Cycling calendar, the Critérium du Dauphiné. Named after the Dauphiné province in south-eastern France’s high mountains this race is always packed with the top Tour de France contenders performing their last major competition prior to the Grand Depart. Next time we’ll see this top class field it will be on the streets of Yorkshire! Taking in many of the famous climbs of the Alps with 3 mountain top finishes this year’s race will be a great warm up for the spectators as well as the riders.