Critérium du Dauphiné route to visit Tour de France mountains

This year’s Critérium du Dauphiné will include a 24.5km team time trial, four mountain finishes and cover the same roads of the Digne-les-Bains to Pra- Loup stage of the Tour de France, giving the overall contenders a chance to test their form a month before the Grand Boucle.

Race organizer ASO unveiled the route during a presentation in Lyon. The 67th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné will be held between June 7-14, starting and finishing in the Savoie region in the French Alps.

The race will begin with a 132km circuit road stage in Albertville that includes six climbs of the 1.2km 8.7 per cent Villard climb. Stage two toVillars-les-Dombes is perfect for the sprinters, before the team time trial on stage three. The team time trial has not been part of the Critérium du Dauphiné since 1980 but the rolling 24.5km course between Roanne and Montagny will seriously influence the overall classification.

The race heads back towards the Alps with a long stage to Sisteron which includes several rolling climbs. The battle for overall victory will get much more serious on stage five, which covers the exact same 161km route as stage 17 of the Tour de France, including the climb to Allos and the testing descent before the climb to Par-Loup. It was here that now Criterium du Dauphiné race director Bernard Thevenet defeated Eddy Merckx 40 years ago in the Tour de France.

The Critérium du Dauphiné returns to the Rhône-Alpes for stage six, with six climbs packed into the 183km between Saint-Bonnet-en-Champsaur and Villard-de-Lans-Vercors. It is a perfect stage for attacks like Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin) launched to set up overall success in 2014.

Stage seven is similar but with a tougher finish to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc. The final climb is only 7km long but has a 7.7 per cent gradient. Before it comes the Col de la Croix Fry (11.2 km at 7 per cent), the Col des Aravis (4.3km at 5.8 per cent) and then the steep Amerands (2.7 km at 11.2 per cent) just before the final climb to Saint-Gervais-les-Bains.

The final stage stays in the Alpine valleys between Saint-Gervais and Modane but the finish comes after a 8.4km climb at 5.7 per cent. It will be a last chance for any attacks.

Talansky is expected to return to defend his 2014 victory, with most of the other Tour de France contenders also in action.

ASO announced the teams for the Critérium du Dauphiné in January, with Bora-Argon 18, Cofidis, MTN-Qhubeka and Europcar lining up alongside the WorldTour teams.

The stages:
Sunday 7 June: stage 1: Ugine - Albertville 132 km

Monday 8 June: stage 2: Le Bourget-du-Lac-Parc des Oiseaux - Villars-les-Dombes 173 km
Tuesday 9 June: stage 3: Roanne - Montagny 24.5km team time trial

Wednesday 10 June: stage 4: Anneyron-Porte de DrômArdèche - Sisteron 228 km

Thursday 11 June: stage 5: Digne-les-Bains - Pra-Loup 161 km

Friday 12 June: stage 6: Saint-Bonnet-en-Champsaur – Villard-de-Lans-Vercors 183 km

Saturday 13 June, stage 7: Montmélian Saint - Gervais Mont Blanc 155 km

Sunday 14 June, stage 8: Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc - Modane Valfréjus 156.5 km

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