The ASO revealed the route for the upcoming 70th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné on Thursday. As usual, there should be something for everyone on offer during the eight-day trek through France.
A classic June tune-up for the Tour de France, the Dauphiné typically strives to provide the peloton with a worthy one-week prep course for July’s grand tour. Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang snatched victory from BMC’s Richie Porte on the final stage of the 2017 edition. This year’s race will again feature plenty of high-mountain challenges in the latter half of the event, ratcheting up the difficulty as the week wears on and the road heads for the Alps.
The race will open on Sunday, June 3, with a 6.6-kilometer prologue for the time trial specialists in Valence. The sprinters will have a shot at stage 1 on the following day, and if they can survive a few climbs they might also contest the win in stage 2.
Stage 3, running from Pont-de-Vaux to Louhans Châteaurenaud, is a 35-kilometer team time trial. From there, the Dauphiné heads into more mountainous terrain for a climber-friendly final quartet of stages.
Stage 4 will take the peloton over the hors-categorie Col du Mont Noir before finishing atop the second-category Montée de Lans-en-Vercors. Stage 5 culminates with the hors-categorie Valmorel, 12.7 kilometers at a gradient over seven percent.
Stage 6 is a preview of the 11th stage of the upcoming Tour de France. The day’s four categorized climbs include a pair of hors-categorie ascents to finish and a final first category climb to La Rosière. At just 110 kilometers, the stage is sure to see fireworks.
Stage 7 will close out the 2018 Dauphiné with four category-one ascents. The one-two finishing punch of the Côte des Amerands and Montée du Bettex will guarantee a climber’s showdown as the GC favorites make for the line at Saint-Gervais in view of Mont Blanc.
Critérium du Dauphiné route
Sunday, June 3: Prologue, Valence – Valence, 6.6km
Monday, June 4: Stage 1, Valence – Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert, 179km
Tuesday, June 5: Stage 2, Montbrison – Belleville, 180.5km
Wednesday, June 6: Stage 3, Pont-de-Vaux – Louhans Châteaurenaud, 35km (TTT)
Thursday, June 7: Stage 4, Chazey-sur-Ain – Lans-en-Vercors, 181km
Friday, June 8: Stage 5, Grenoble – Valmorel, 130.5km
Saturday, June 9: Stage 6, Frontenex – La Rosière, 110km
Sunday, June 10: Stage 7, Moûtiers – Saint-Gervais, 129km