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Criterium du Dauphine - Retro Gallery

How to follow the Critérium du Dauphiné: Cyclingnews will have live text coverage from start to finish for every stage, as well as rider interviews, race reports, podcasts, video highlights and post-race analysis.

Like several of the major stage races on the cycling calendar, the Criterium du Dauphine was created with aim of boosting the circulation of a newspaper. Le Dauphiné libéré launched the race back in 1947 and the Tour de France dress rehearsal has been held every year bar two since, with Nello Lauredi, Luis Ocaña, Bernard Hinault and Charly Mottet holding the honour as three time winners.

As an important test for the Tour, the Dauphine takes in some of the most iconic climbs of the French Alps with the 'Giant of Provence', Mont Ventoux, also a regular feature. The Col du Galibier, Alpe d'Huez and the Col du Glandon have also made their mark on the race in recent years.

With ASO ever on the hunt for new and exciting climbs and stage finishes, the Dauphine has included several stages that have gone to be used by the Tour de France. The 2014 stage to Finhaut-Emosson will feature in the third week of the 2016 Tour while the 2015 stage to Pra Loup, won by Romain Bardet via a daring descent on the Col d'Allos, was one of the racing highlights of last season.

In recent years, Team Sky have made the race its own with four overall wins in five years with Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins sharing the honours. Froome is expected to again finish on the podium in what is a stacked field of 2016 Tour contenders, including Alberto Contador, Fabio Aru, Thibaut Pinot, Richie Porte and Bardet.

We've put together a gallery from the turn of the millennium featuring the most memorable riders, climbs and stages. So sit back and click or scroll through the images above.

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