Critérium du Dauphiné route announced

The 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné parcours was announced today by race organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and the eight-day, 1053km route will delight the peloton's climbers in search of a final tune-up prior to the Tour de France.

The 63rd edition of the French stage race, taking place June 5 to June 12, features two time trials and six road stages. Five of the six road stages will conclude on summit finishes, leaving only stage 4, 172km from La Motte-Servolex to Mâcon, a likely day for the sprinters.

The summit finishes range from a short, steep climb in Lyon (stage 2) to the relatively easy slopes of Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse (stage 1) and the Les Gets station (stage 5), as well as mountains favouring the pure climbers, like the Collet d’Allevard (stage 6) or La Toussuire (stage 7).

Other climbs of note include the category 1 Grand Cucheron, the penultimate climb in stage 6, as well as the hors catégorie Croix de Fer, preceding the summit finish of stage 7.

The Critérium du Dauphiné opens with a 5.5km prologue time trial in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne with another race of truth included on stage 3, a lengthy 42.5km test in Grenoble. The latter time trial will be of particular interest to those with Tour de France aspirations as its route is the exact same as the Tour's penultimate stage time trial on July 23.

The 2010 Critérium du Dauphiné was won by Slovenia's Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack).

2011 Critérium du Dauphiné route:

Prologue (ITT): Sunday, June 5 - Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, 5.5km
Stage 1: Monday, June 6 - Albertville to Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse, 144km
Stage 2: Tuesday, June 7 - Voiron to Lyon, 179km
Stage 3 (ITT): Wednesday, June 8 - Grenoble, 42.5km
Stage 4: Thursday, June 9 - La Motte-Servolex to Mâcon, 172km
Stage 5: Friday, June 10 - Parc des Oiseaux - Villars-les-Dombes to Les Gets, 207.5km
Stage 6: Saturday, June 11 - Les Gets to Le Collet d’Allevard, 185km
Stage 7: Sunday, June 12 - Pontcharra to La Toussuire, 117.5km

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