From Digne-les-Bains to Pra-Loup, many of the same roads and climbs that will be used during the Tour de France in July will offer GC favorites a chance to test their legs in the French mountains at the Critérium du Dauphiné, June 7-14.
The eight stages of the 2015 Dauphiné route were revealed Thursday morning in Lyon, France.
The 67th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné will begin with a short and hilly circuit located around Albertville that includes six trips up the short Villard climb (1.2km at 8.7 percent). The next day may offer a stage for the sprinters as the race rides 173km from Le Bourget-du-Lac to Parc des Oiseaux Villars-les-Dombes.
For the first time since 1980, the race will hold a team time trial in stage 3, a 24.5km test in the Loire Department. The rolling course will mimick the Tour de France TTT to be held in Plumelec on July 12.
After the race’s longest stage (228km) on the fourth day, the second half of the race will move into the mountains.
Stage 5 will be identical in every respect to stage 17 of the 2015 Tour de France, featuring a grueling finish, which will include the Allos climb, a fast descent, then the climb to Pra-Loup, where Critérium du Dauphiné race director, Bernard Thevenet, defeated Eddy Merckx 40 years ago in the Tour.
The return to Rhône-Alpes on Friday, June 12, will be highlighted by the Rousset climb and the two-kilometer climb to Villard-de-Lans.
Stage 7 will start with 30 flat kilometers before five demanding climbs, among them the Croix Fry climb (11.2km at 7 percent) and the Aravis, which will serve as a prelude to the Amerands climb (2.7km at 11.2 percent) and the final climb to Saint-Gervais-les-Bains.
Sunday’s stage 8 may be one last chance for the general classification to sugar out, as the race tackles the Modane hilltops.
In 2014, American Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin) won the Dauphiné on the final day of racing in a daring, late attack in the mountains.
2015 Criterium du Dauphine route
Sunday, June 7, stage 1: Ugine – Albertville, 132km
Monday, June 8, stage 2: Le Bourget-du-Lac – Parc des Oiseaux Villars-les-Dombes, 173km
Tuesday, June 9, stage 3: Roanne – Montagny, 24.5km (team time trial)
Wednesday, June 10, stage 4: Anneyron – Porte de DrômArdèche – Sisteron, 228km
Thursday, June 11, stage 5: Digne-les-Bains – Pra-Loup, 161km
Friday, June 12, stage 6: Saint-Bonnet-en-Champsaur – Villard-de-Lans – Vercors, 183km
Saturday, June 13, stage 7: Montmélian – Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc, 155km
Sunday, June 14, stage 8: Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc – Modane Valfréjus, 156.5km