The final podium of the Dauphiné Libéré (L-R) Alberto Contador (Astana), Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Cadel Evans (Silence - Lotto). Stef Clement (Rabobank).
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ASO tightens its grip on French race calendar
This year's Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré will start in the Alpine mountain town of Evian on June 6, 2010. According to French Cyclismag.com, whose information comes from a source close to the race organisation, the beautiful city on the borders of Lake Geneva will again welcome the Dauphiné peloton, having hosted the race's prologue on five previous occasions.
The decision to begin the week-long stage race in Evian is a return to recent tradition after its prologue had been moved to Nancy, in eastern France last year. Based in Nancy, the EBRA press group that owned the race has this winter given a mandate to Tour de France owner Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) to organise the 2010 event, and sold the race to ASO as of 2011.
The further itinerary of the 2010 Dauphiné is yet to be announced, but some information as to the finale of the event was leaked in October: On Friday, June 11, the race will reach Grenoble, before a summit finish on L'Alpe d'Huez the next day. The race will end in Sallanches on Sunday.
With the aquisition of the Dauphiné, ASO's monopoly on high-profile pro races in France has edged closer to 100 per cent. The only French ProTour race that is not organised by ASO is now the Grand Prix de Plouay.
The 2009 edition of the Dauphiné Libéré was won by Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne). The Spaniard finished 16 seconds clear of Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) and 1:18 ahead of 2009 Tour de France Champion Alberto Contador (Astana).
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