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The Critérium du Dauphiné has become the Tour de France preparation race of choice in the last 10 years or so, with Team Ineos' Chris Froome choosing it over the Tour de Suisse for all four of his Tour wins, as did 2014 Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali and 2018 champion Geraint Thomas.
The 2019 Tour de France winner, Egan Bernal (Team Ineos), bucked the trend somewhat by winning the Tour de Suisse that year. The 2019 Dauphiné winner Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) went into the Tour as one of the big favourites, but crashed out of the race on stage 16.
This year, the coronavirus has turned the calendar on its head and the Tour de Suisse was cancelled but the powerful ASO still managed to position the Critérium du Dauphiné in a key week before the Tour de France in the revised late-season calendar.
The Critérium du Dauphiné takes place from August 12-16 as a prelude to the rescheduled Tour de France which starts on August 29 in Nice.
The race has been reduced to five stages but, with no prologue and individual time trial and no sprint stages - it will have five action-packed days of racing with every single stage ending on a climb.
Beginning on stage 1 in the capital of the Massif Central, Clermont-Ferrand, riders will be subjected to a harsh warm-up, 218.5km in length and with eight classified ascents and a short climb to the finish in Saint-Christo-en-Jarez.
Stage 2 is an even tougher summit finale to the Col de Porte, a 17.5km climb averaging 6.2 per cent on an intense 135km stage.
As is the tradition, the Dauphiné includes a preview of part of the Tour de France route, this time on stage 3 when the riders climb the Col de la Madeleine via a new route never before used in the Tour. The 157km stage to Saint-Martin-de-Belleville ends with a 14.8km climb averaging six per cent - and it's only a prelude to what comes on stage 4.
The riders will endure 4700m of climbing on the 157km stage to Megéve, the first of back-to-back finishes on the same 7.4km ascent. On the final day there are eight categorized climbs - the Côte de Domancy, the Col de Romme, the Col de la Colombière and lastly, in the shadow of Mont Blanc, the Côte de Cordon before the Montée de l'altiport.
It will be a key test for the climbers who have risen to the top in the late-summer restart: Bernal, winner of La Route d'Occitanie and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), winner in Tour de l'Ain as well as Tour de Pologne runner-up Jakob Fuglsang.
Fuglsang took the overall title at the Dauphiné for the second time in three years, having also won in 2017. He won the 2019 edition by 20 seconds over EF Education First's Tejay van Garden, with Bora-Hansgrohe's Emanuel Buchmann – who would go on to become somewhat of a revelation at the Tour with fourth place overall – in third place, a further second back.
2019 Critérium du Dauphiné GC
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team||30:44:27|
|2||Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Education First||0:00:20|
|3||Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:00:21|
|4||Wout Poels (Ned) Team Ineos||0:00:28|
|5||Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:00:33|
|6||Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida||0:01:11|
|7||Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team||0:01:12|
|8||Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates||0:01:21|
|9||Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team||0:01:24|
|10||Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:01:38|
Criterium du Dauphine 202012 August 2020 - 16 August 2020 | WorldTour
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