Team RadioShack Aims to Defend Criterium du Dauphine Title

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06/5/2011| 0 comments
by Gerald Churchill
Janez Brajkovic attacks in last year's Dauphine Libere. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Janez Brajkovic attacks in last year's Dauphine Libere. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Team RadioShack Aims to Defend Criterium du Dauphine Title

Team RadioShack's defending Criterium du Dauphine champion Janez Brajkovic will return to the roads where he burst into the limelight last year and it is with renewed ambition that he will take the start tomorrow.

Team RadioShack's defending Criterium du Dauphine champion Janez Brajkovic will return to the roads where he burst into the limelight last year and it is with renewed ambition that he will take the start tomorrow.

The 27-year-old Slovenian rider has reached a turning point in his career and he is fully aware of that.

Brajkovic made his breakthrough in 2004 when he claimed the Under-21 titme trial world title, following up nicely when he snatched the overall lead in the 2006 Vuelta a Espana.

Then his career stalled. Although he won the Tour of Georgia in 2007 and became a Slovenian time trial champion the following year, his class really showed during last year's Dauphine when he won the third stage, a 49-km time trial in Sorgues, and when he held off the mighty Alberto Contador on the climb to l'Alpe d'Huez.

Few have such an achievement under their belt.

"This victory against Contador gave me the confidence I needed and I believe I can do that on a grand tour one day," said Brajkovic.

"In 2010, my team had me ride the Criterium du Dauphine and the Tour of Spain - wich we eventually did not take part in. Following my strong showing on the Dauphine, it was logical that I ride the Tour de France but in July, I gradually ran out of steam (43rd overall). This year, the main objective is the Tour but the Dauphine is part of my preparations and it is very important that I ride solidly."

With Contador opting out, Brajkovic will definitely be one of those gunning for the title, although victory will not be the Slovenian's top priority.

"I'll be preparing for the race the week before in the Briancon region and then I'll target two stages: the time trial and the main mountain stage," Brajkovic explained.
If he rides them well, Brajkovic, nicknamed 'Jani' by his team mates, should not be too far from top spot overall.

"One thing is sure, he'll be ready when it starts in St Jean de Maurienne," Team Radioshack sports director said.

"He works very hard, he could be on a training camp in Tenerife all year round. We have to cool him down. He is a rider whose peaks of form are pretty short so the goal is that he is at 100 percent during the Tour de France. Not before. I can just underline that he managed decent performances on Paris-Nice (7th overall) and the Tour de Romandie (7th) and that's the least we can expect from hom on the Dauphine. I also know that the route is tougher than last year and that's better for him."

Gallopin does not see Brajkovic as the favorite for the overall victory in the Criterium du Dauphine.

"The favourite is Cadel Evans. This year, he won two stage races, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie. I really don't see who could beat him."

Team Radioshack roster for the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine (Dauphine Libere):
Janez Brajkovic, Matthew Busche, Ben Hermans, Markel Irizar, Geoffroy Lequatre, Jason McCartney, Sergio Paulinho,

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