With the Tour de France just over two weeks away, if you needed a little something to whet your appetite for the world’s biggest bike race, then look no further.
These jaw-dropping images tell the story of the Tour’s traditional warm-up race, the Criterium du Dauphine, won this year by Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang after a dramatic week of racing in the Alps.
The yellow jersey changed hands three times during the race, with Thomas De Gendt (LottoNL-Jumbo) leading until stage five, before Richie Porte (BMC Racing) made his move on the title. It was to be Fuglsang who took the honours, however, with the Dane striking on the final stage to top the podium.
The Dauphine may be a prestigious race in its own right but it’s also an important test of form before the Tour, not least before it takes place in and around the Alps. Fast forward a month and we’ll see the Tour de France being decided on the same roads.
It’s time for Tour fever to begin and, if nothing else, these photos prove why cycling is simply the most beautiful sport in the world.