The Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), which already owns the Tour de France, Paris-Nice, Critérium international, Paris-Roubaix, Tour de l'Avenir and Paris-Tours on French soil alone, is preparing to take over the organisation of the second-most important French stage race, the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré. The pre-Tour de France preparation event, taking place in the South of France in June, has been in the hands of French regional newspaper Dauphiné Libéré since its creation in 1947.
This year, ASO will organise the race for the first time as it is preparing to become its owner. "ASO has been given the mandate to organise the 2010 edition," said Dauphiné Libéré group CEO Henri-Pierre Guilbert on Thursday. "Moreover, very advanced negotiations are underway for a transfer of the competition."
The race has reportedly created a deficit in recent years, and because the newspaper did not want the event to cease to exist, the choice of ASO as a new owner was "a legitimate one. Our objective is the Critérium's continuity, as it is an important part of our region's sports heritage. We will remain closely linked to it as a partner. This is not an abandon."
The 62nd Dauphiné will this year finish in Sallanches, with a moutnain top finish on L'Alpe d'Huez planned for the penultimate stage on June 12.
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