Highlights of the 2016 Criterium du Dauphiné are on ITV4

The Criterium du Dauphiné starts today (Sunday). ITV4 are doing a daily highlights programme, same as they do for the Tour de France. It’ll also appear on the ITV Player, which is available via all sorts of modern technology. It’s still worth recording if you’ve got the facility though as from experience programmes can sometimes take a while to appear on demand at the weekends.

I always call the Criterium du Dauphiné ‘The Dolphin’ because that’s what Dauphiné means. It’s a major week-long stage race in its own right, but is perhaps most of interest for what it hints at for next month’s main event.

This year’s edition features Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Fabio Aru amongst others.

Routewise, today’s prologue is of particular interest as it’s basically a hill climb – 3.9km at 9.7%. You very, very rarely get the opportunity to see such a clear and pure snapshot of climbing ability and it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top. Other than that, the major mountain stages are next Friday, Saturday and Sunday. All three are summit finishes. Striking when you consider that there will only be four in the whole Tour de France.