Bastille on the horizon
February 16 th 2023 - 12:00
The route for the 75th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné, which will take place between 4th and 11th June, was unveiled this morning in Lyon by Bernard Thévenet, a two times winner of the race (1975-76) and Gilles Maignan, the race director, in the presence of the president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes regional council, Laurent Wauquiez.
Eight stages are on the programme, covering a total of 1207.2 kilometres, starting from Chambon-sur-Lac in the Puy-de-Dôme department.
The confrontation between the pretenders for the title should increase in intensity with the time-trial that winds through the Loire department, before reaching a climax during the final weekend. The highest stage finish in history will take place on Saturday at the Col de la Croix-de-Fer pass, while on Sunday the race will reacquaint itself with the Bastille climb on the heights above Grenoble, which the race has not visited since the edition in 2000.
Because Critérium du Dauphiné week is considered as decisive in preparing for the Tour de France by the riders taking part, they would be well advised to show balance in all circumstances and rely on strategy to gain a real grasp of the route for the 2023 edition. This was the way Jonas Vingegaard did it last year, launching his summer campaign by taking second place on the Alpine race behind his team-mate Primoz Roglic. The Dane’s example could be followed by all the pretenders for victory on the Dauphiné and the Tour de France, starting with the race’s sequence in the Auvergne. In the Puy-de-Dôme department at Chambon-sur-Lac to kick off proceedings or on the way to La Chaise-Dieu in the Haute-Loire department, the undulating profile of the stages as well as the dynamics of the circuits will encourage the riders to be both watchful and to show initiative. The sprinters will very likely have pride of place as the race heads to Le Coteau during stage 3, before another phase in the event unfolds as from the traditional time-trial on Wednesday and its 31.1-km route between Cours and Belmont-de-la-Loire.
The most powerful pedallers will have certainly taken command of the provisional race hierarchy that will have been established before the riders tackle a progressive increase in pressure and altitude. The visit to the Jura department and Salins-les-Bains could just as easily be dominated by a spontaneous breakaway or battle between the favourites. The contest will be even more serious on the road to the Savoy department resort of Crest-Voland, which they will reach after having climbed over the Col des Aravis pass and battled it out on a final ascent of 2.5 km and 6.2% average gradient.
However, nothing will be decided before the weekend, during which each day may give rise to major upheavals. Sudden developments are customary on the Dauphiné and the programme for Saturday could indeed blow apart the general classification, with a total of more than 4,000 metres of climbing over a distance of 147.7 kilometres. Never before has a Critérium du Dauphiné finishing line been held as high as on the Col de Croix-de-Fer pass, at an altitude of 2,067 metres, three more than at La Plagne two years ago! The terrain is ideal for a climber to make a major statement, but the following day, the road to Grenoble contains all the ingredients for another to take revenge. In the last fifty kilometres, the climbs up the Col du Granier, Col de Cucheron and then the Col de Porte passes boast gradients conducive to attacks. All that will remain is to plunge down into Grenoble to then confront the short but formidable climb up to the Bastille Fort. In 1977, a very young Bernard Hinault crossed the finishing line as winner, with blood stains on his face and his first major leader’s jersey, which just goes to show that there is not just one famous Bastille in France’s history!
The finishes of the Critérium du Dauphiné at La Bastille
. 1977: Romans-sur-Isère > Bastille (214 km), won by Bernard Hinault
. 1979: Bastille > Bastille (Ind. t-t., 4 km), won by Bernard Hinault
. 1981: Bastille > Bastille (prologue, 3 km), won by Johan Van der Velde
. 1982: Bourgoin > Bastille (187.5 km), won by Robert Alban
. 1988: Grenoble > Bastille (Ind. t-t., 26.7 km), won by Lucho Herrera
. 1989: Crest > Bastille (230 km), won by Thierry Claveyrolat
. 1993: Bonneville > Bastille (192 km), won by Laurent Dufaux
. 1996: Briançon > Bastille (174 km), won by Luc Leblanc
. 2000: Bastille > Bastille (prologue, 3.6 km), won by Alberto Lopez de Munain
The stages of the 75th edition:
Sunday 4 June stage 1: Chambon-sur-Lac > Chambon-sur-Lac, 157,7 km
Monday 5 June, stage 2: Brassac-les-Mines > La Chaise-Dieu, 167,3 km
Tuesday 6 June, stage 3: Monistrol-sur-Loire > Le Coteau, 191,3 km
Wednesday 7 June, stage 4: Cours > Belmont-de-la-Loire, 31,1 km (clm-ind.)
Thursday 8 June, stage 5: Cormoranche-sur-Saône > Salins-les-Bains, 191,1 km
Friday 9 June, stage 6: Nantua > Crest-Voland, 168,2 km
Saturday 10 June, stage 7: Porte-de-Savoie > Col de la Croix de Fer, 147,7 km
Sunday 11 June, stage 8: Le Pont-de-Claix > La Bastille – Grenoble Alpes Métropole, 152,8 km
22 teams selected
In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale rules, the following eighteen UCI WorldTeams are automatically invited to the race:
AG2R Citroën Team (Fra); Alpecin-Deceuninck (Bel); Astana Qazaqstan Team (Kaz); Bahrain Victorious (Brn); Bora – Hansgrohe (Ger); Cofidis (Fra); EF Education – Easypost (Usa); Groupama – FDJ (Fra); INEOS Grenadiers (Gbr); Intermarché – Circus – Wanty (Bel); Jumbo-Visma (Ned); Movistar Team (Esp); Soudal Quick-Step (Bel); Team Jayco AlUla (Aus); Team Arkea – Samsic (Fra); Team DSM (Ned); Trek – Segafredo (Usa); UAE Team Emirates (Uae)
Furthermore, the first two teams in the 2022 classification of UCI ProTeams will take part by right in Critérium du Dauphiné 2023:
Lotto Dstny (Bel); TotalEnergies (Fra)
The organisers have invited the following teams:
Israel – Premier Tech (Isr); Uno-X Pro Cycling Team (Nor)