Off the beaten track

March 25 th 2019 - 11:57

The details of the route for the 71st edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné were revealed this morning in Lyon at the headquarters of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regional council, in the presence of its President Laurent Wauquiez and Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France. On 9th June, the race will start in the French Department of Cantal for the very first time and will follow a 1,200-kilometre long route full of new roads and places, leading the pack to the Swiss ski resort of Champéry on 16th June. Less than a month before the start of the Tour de France, favourites such as Chris Froome, Romain Bardet, Thibaut Pinot, Richie Porte, Jakob Fuglsang, Adam Yates, Julian Alaphilippe and Daniel Martin will ride on somewhat unaccustomed mountain roads to test themselves against each other and maybe try and spring a surprise.

The Dauphiné is often a race for rivals to come together before giving way to unrelenting contests over several terrains, as a foretaste of what is to come on the roads of the Tour de France. This year, the scene has mainly been set for the riders to embark on new challenges. To begin with, for what is traditionally a week in the Alps, the organisers have thrown a curve-ball by placing the start in the Cantal for the first time. On the very first stage, the riders will have to tackle genuine climbs that will set an eventful tone for the week: after climbing the Puy Mary, the stage victory will be contested on a dynamic and especially bumpy circuit. Not content with this initial shake-up, the road to Craponne-sur-Arzon (on Stage 2) will show that a roller-coaster ride is also possible on the slopes of the Auvergne region. The following day, the sprinters should feel at ease on the long 5-kilometre straight line just before the finish in Riom, as well as in Voiron for the fifth day of racing. In the meantime, the main favourites will have begun to try and edge clear of each other on the time-trial in Roanne, which, for the occasion, could almost be twinned with Pau: apart from the indoor start from the Scarabée hall, the distance and terrain will be very close to what the riders can expect on 19th July in the Béarn area on Le Tour.

Yet, it is indeed in the mountains that the main threads of the plot will come together over the last three days, although the Critérium du Dauphiné will be cutting loose from the most visited and renowned climbs. For example, on the longest stage of the week (on Friday, 228 km) the ascent up the Col de Beaune may hold a surprise in store for some riders, as might the tricky descent down into Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne. The distance to be covered on the two remaining stages put together just tops the length of Stage 6, but both will stand out thanks to their dynamic and unique character. For example, none of the participants will have tackled the slopes of Prapoutel-Les-Sept-Laux, climbed by the riders on the Tour de France in 1980, which will be the backdrop to the finish of the most demanding stage for the riders (with 4,150 m of gradient to climb over a distance of 133 km). The accumulation of kilometres raced and the profile of Sunday’s stage could give rise to a dramatic shift in the race hierarchy, on a route where Dauphiné regulars will reacquaint themselves with previously visited places, but not in the traditional order, such as the climb at Les Gets, the Col du Corbier, the Châtel ski resort and the Swiss resort of Champéry. This is where the race began in 2013 and this year it will witness the final verdict.

Critérium du Dauphiné 2019 stages :

Sunday, June 9th – Stage 1 - Aurillac (15) > Jussac (15) - 142 km
Monday, June 10th – Stage 2 - Mauriac (15) > Craponne-sur-Arzon (43) - 180 km
Tuesday, June 11th – Stage 3 - Le Puy-en-Velay (43) > Riom (63) - 172 km
Wednesday, June 12th – Stage 4 - Roanne (42) > Roanne (42) – C.l.m. individuel - 26,1 km
Thursday, June 13th – Stage 5 - Boën-sur-Lignon (42) > Voiron (38) - 201 km
Friday, June 14th – Stage 6 - Saint-Vulbas - Plaine de l’Ain (01) > Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne (73) - 228 km
Saturday, June 15th – Stage 7 - Saint-Genix-les-Villages (73) > Les Sept Laux-Pipay (38) - 133 km
Sunday, June 16th – Stage 8 - Cluses (74) > Champéry (Switzerland) - 113,5 km

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