Jan 13, 2015 – Reigning Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali will warm up for his yellow jersey defense with the Criterium de Dauphine in June, his coach Paolo Slongo revealed on Tuesday. 

AFP/Yuzuru Sunada

The Astana rider, 30, will begin his season’s work at the Tour of Dubai (Feb 4-7), the Tour of Oman (Feb 17-22) before the Italian races in March featuring the Strade-Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-Sanremo, Slongo told Cycling Weekly.

Nibali finished seventh in last year’s Dauphine behind surprise American winner Andrew Talansky and during a race when former Tour de France winners Alberto Contador finished second and Briton Chris Froome struggled home after crashing.

The Sicilian will then race in the one-day classics, the Amstel Gold Race as well as the Fleche-Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, but will skip his home race the Giro d’Italia which he won in 2013. The Tour de France begins on July 4 in Utrecht, Netherlands and finishes in Paris on July 26.