Critérium du Dauphiné 2018 : The alpine equation

March 15 th 2018 - 11:53

The route of the 70th edition, which will take place between 3rd and 10th June, was unveiled this morning in Lyon by Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France, and Laurent Wauquiez, President of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Regional Council. One month before the start of the Tour de France, the favourites such as Vincenzo Nibali, Rigoberto Uran, Romain Bardet, Warren Barguil or also Dan Martin will be battling for position as early on as the prologue in Valence, a city to which the Dauphiné will be making its return.

For cycling enthusiasts, the city of Valence and more broadly the Rhône Valley bring to mind sprint finishes, whether on the Critérium du Dauphiné, Paris-Nice or Tour de France. The region is also conducive to time-trial routes, which is what took place the last time that the Dauphiné stopped off in Valence in 2009 (with a victory for Bert Grabsch). For the return of the race to the administrative centre of the Drôme, the riders will again have the opportunity to express themselves against the clock on a 6.6-km prologue. The sprinters will have their turn the following day at Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert and, if circumstances allow, the day afterwards in Belleville.

The battle between the favourites will take on another dimension when the traditional time-trial takes place on Wednesday, which this year will be a team time-trial between Pont-de-Vaux and Louhans-Châteaurenaud. The time-trial specialists will give themselves an option for victory on this stage, but only the best climbers will retain any chance of success as the programme turns mountainous at the end of the week. The climbing will start on the stage at Lans-en-Vercors, which the riders will reach after having crossed the Col du Mont Noir pass and its 17.5 km of slopes with a 6.9% average gradient for the very first time. The ascent to Valmorel has been well-known to the pack since the 2013 edition and could again be used as a springboard for a future winner. The two remaining days will nevertheless still offer opportunities to burst upwards from the pack. The route to La Rosière, identical to the 11th stage of the Tour de France 2018, boasts an ultra-dynamic 110-km format. The finish at Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc has also proved its worth on the Tour de France, via the show of strength with which Romain Bardet climbed up to 2nd place in the general classification in 2016. At the foot of Mont Blanc, the riders can aim high…

The stages :

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