With the Tour de France less than a month away, some of the favourites will be tweaking their form at the Critérium du Dauphiné starting Sunday. Michael Woods, who last raced the Tour de Romandie in early May, will line up against Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana, Adam Yates, Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot over eight stages .

Wearing a single leg warmer, Woods finished fifth just ahead of David Gaudu in late April’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Photo: Sirotti

Last year, Geraint Thomas won the Dauphiné before going on to claim his first Tour de France title.

There’s plenty of climbing in the 71st edition, with only one summit finish, Saturday, June 15 on the 19-km, 6.9-percent Montee de Pipay. If you liked the climb-y time trials of the Giro d’Italia, you’ll like Stage 4’s 26.1-km chrono.

Thirty-nine categorized climbs across eight stages from June 9-16 = the 71st Critérium du Dauphiné.

Woods’ 10th in the Tour de Romandie marked his fourth top-10 this season in as many stage races. He will be wearing the “1 jersey” for EF Education First, a squad that includes Tejay van Garderen, Tour of Flanders winner Alberto Bettiol and Amstel Gold Race runner-up Simon Clarke.

Woods’ participation in a third straight Giro d’Italia somehow became conventional wisdom, until he told Canadian Cycling Magazine that he wasn’t racing the season’s first Grand Tour. Whether he will race his first Tour de France or third Vuelta a España is unclear, but Education First’s Tour outfit might need a reinforcement after a training accident took Dani Martinez out of the Grand Boucle with hand injuries.

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