Skip to main content


Darren Rafferty leads Jonas Vingegaard during O Gran Camino earlier this year and now the Irishman will be back in action at the top level over the coming week (Photo: Luis Angel Gomez-SCA-Cor Vos)

Darren Rafferty’s performances so far in his neo pro season with EF Education-EasyPost have been rewarded with a call-up to the Word Tour team’s line-up for Critérium du Dauphiné.

The 20-year-old will be one of only two Irish riders in the race as a returned-to-form Sam Bennett lines out for Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale and may get a chance of a win as early as stage 1 tomorrow.

Rafferty returned to racing, after a month’s break, at Mercan’ Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes (1.1) midweek in France and was climbing in the front group in the final when he came down in a crash. He also performed very strongly at Tour de Romandie in April, including looking very strong during an attacking ride on the final stage, finishing 23rd overall.

For Rafferty, the next week will be about doing whatever the team expects of him and showing he is already strong enough to make a significant impact at this level, as he already has done several times this season. He may also get a chance to take a result for himself, including going up the road at some point.

Rafferty goes into Critérium du Dauphiné as part of an EF Education-EasyPost team that includes new United States road race champion Sean Quinn as well as fellow fancied American Neilson Powless.

Also in the selection are Britons Owain Doull and Lukas Nerurkar as well as German Jonas Rutsch and Australian Harry Sweeny.

While Powless would, under normal circumstances, be the stand-out rider in the selection, his form has been patchy this year as he has been forced to deal with a knee injury that sidelined him from racing for two months.

And as he is now returning to racing, in a big to build up to the Tour de France, the other riders on the team may get a chance over the next eight says, especially as neither Richard Carapaz or Rigoberto Uran are in the selection.

However, anyone with designs on taking a stage win – or doing a strong general classification rider – will have their work cut out considering the big names taking to the start line. They include Remco Evenepoel, the Soudal-QuickStep rider returning from crash injuries, as well as Sepp Kuss and Matteo Jorgenson, both Visma Lease a Bike.

Primož Roglič, who has designs on winning the Tour de France next month, will be aiming to take stage wins and the overall for Bora-hansgrohe over the next week while Juan Ayuso will flying the flag for UAE Team Emirates and is another potential overall winner.

#Darren #Rafferty #big #callup #Critérium #Dauphiné

Source link