Alberto Contador believes the Criterium du Dauphine is the perfect stage to renew his rivalry with two-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome.
The eight-day race, a precursor to the Tour which begins on 2 July, starts with a 4km time trial on Sunday.
“There will be many challengers [in the Tour]. But if I must pick two, I would say Froome and Nairo Quintana,” said Contador, also a two-time Tour winner.
“The Criterium will allow me to test myself against my rivals.”
Team Sky rider Froome has won the Criterium in each of the two years he has won the Tour – 2013 and 2015 – but Contador, who rides for Tinkoff, has never won the Criterium.
“My primary objective is to finish [the Criterium] in good physical condition with respect to the Tour – to be ready,” said the Spaniard.
“I’m not thinking about the overall victory but, obviously, if the chance is there…”
Astana’s Fabio Aru and FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot will also contest the Criterium, but Movistar’s Quintana is not competing in the race.