Hello everyone, I’m back this week after some forced time off. I lost my cable modem in one of those unpredictable summer storms that often occur here in the midwestern United States.
So, now that the Giro d’Italia is over, most of the pro riders who intend to ride the Tour de France don’t just kick back and take it easy, even though they have just put close to 2,000 miles in their legs. No, they keep riding, training, and racing. That’s a feat I find quite admirable because I would probably want to hang out in bed for a week.
Instead, as preparation for the “La Grande Boucle,” the pros can choose to ride two shorter stage races in June, which are the Criterium du Dauphine and the Tour de Suisse (Switzerland). The Criterium du Dauphine takes place in the first part of June and covers roads in southeastern France, many of which are used in the Tour de France. The Tour de Suisse consists of challenging mountain climbs through the Swiss Alps. This race is usually held during the last two weeks of June.
Both races have 8 to 9 stages and involve climbs that test riders’ legs so they are ready for the Tour de France. The Criterium du Dauphine is named after a local newspaper with its first race occurring in 1947. It takes on climbs like Mount Ventoux and the Col du Galibier (shown below during the winter), both of which are used in the Tour de France.
The Tour de Suisse started in 1933 and pushes the riders up climbs like the Gotthard Pass (also known as the Tremola), Furka Pass, Nufenen, etc. Some of the riders who have participated in this race have gone on to win the Tour de France, most famously Eddy Merckx and Jan Ullrich.
Have you ever been to Switzerland? I visited Zurich a long time ago and it was truly wonderful. I’d love to go back someday, maybe even to do some cycling. What about France? Have you ever got to ride Mount Ventoux or the Col du Galibier? I’ve been to Paris but I’ve never been during the Tour de France, which I would love to do.
If you enjoyed learning about these two short stage races and their use as preparation for the Tour de France by pro riders, please like, comment, and share. Until next week, I hope you find time on your bike. It’s hard to believe June is already half over, so get out there and ride and, most importantly, have fun!