Look around. The Dauphiné hits the mountains this weekend. The Tour de Suisse starts today. In their own right these are brilliant races, showcasing the Alps, the kind of scenery where cow bells ring and you almost expect Julie Andrews to emerge with an annoying song. Only it’s time for bike racing, with summit finishes, sprints and time trials.
I know we saw plenty of this at the Giro but the level goes up a notch or two when it comes to the depth of the field and competition, Contador wouldn’t have had it so easy if Robert Gesink, Cadel Evans and Andy Shleck were there. The Tour de France is getting closer too, the anticipation is building. I think it’s worth celebrating the Tour de Suisse and the Critérium du Dauphiné as superb races in their own right but it’s true that analysing the daily results with an eye on July’s Tour de France adds even more to the experience.
I know some like the Giro d’Italia more than the Tour and others find stage racing dull and get more passionate about the one day classics. But the best thing is you don’t have choose, you can watch all of these throughout the year. And for me, this time of year is a genuine highlight thanks to the high altitude racing.