Critérium du Dauphiné: June 9 – 16
The Critérium du Dauphiné is traditionally one of the main preparation races for the Tour de France. In a week’s racing the riders get a mixture of sprint stages, time trials and climbing stages. And it is the latter that tend to make the difference in the general classification. Riders who show they are in good form in the Critérium du Dauphiné are by definition ones to watch out for during the Tour de France.
Tour of Switzerland: June 15 – 23
Riders are increasingly choosing the Tour of Switzerland as preparation for the Tour de France. This race is slightly closer on the calendar to the Tour de France than the Critérium du Dauphiné is, which makes it an easier transition for riders into the most legendary bike race on the planet. The Tour of Switzerland consists primarily of climbing stages, but also features some decent time trialing. In 2018, the Tour of Switzerland was won by Australian Richie Porte, who seem assured of a good Tour de France — unfortunately, he crashed out of the Tour with a broken collar bone.