The route of the 76th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné, scheduled for 2 to 9 June, was revealed this morning at the seat of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Regional Council in Lyon, in the presence of the President of the Council, Laurent Wauquiez, and Christian Prudhomme.
For the first time ever, the field will take its first pedal strokes in the Allier department, where the town of Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule will roll out the red carpet for the riders. Action-packed moments such as the Wednesday time trial in Neulise (Loire) will raise the stakes throughout the week-long race, leading up to an Alpine battle royale that will come to a head on the Plateau des Glières on Sunday afternoon.
Among the many Tour de France favourites who have already put their names down are the reigning champion, Jonas Vingegaard, and riders of the calibre of Primož Roglič and Remco Evenepoel. Jai Hindley, Aleksandr Vlasov, Mattias Skjelmose, Sepp Kuss and Tao Geoghegan Hart could also be in the mix.
11 June 2023: Jonas Vingegaard and Adam Yates on the final podium, Giulio Ciccone in polka dots and the Spanish rising star Carlos Rodríguez going from strength to strength. You can never know for sure, but the snapshot at the end of the Critérium du Dauphiné tends to be a reliable indicator of who will be the movers and shakers of the following Tour de France. In particular, the epic clashes of mountain maniacs often give a glimpse of the future, as the Alpine roads crank up the pressure one slope at a time to sort out the contenders from the pretenders at the end of the week.
The elite will be on high alert, even in the opening stage in Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule, where a sprinter ought to be topping the board at the end of the day. It will not last for long, though. Just 24 hours later, riders on top of their game will get their first chance to deal some (serious) damage to their rivals in the gruelling 25 km sequence leading up to the Col de la Loge. After that, the leg-breaking stage to Les Estables, on the rugged terrain of the Puy-de-Dôme and Haute-Loire departments, is the ideal scenario for a strong breakaway to shake up the pecking order. Power riders will be salivating at the prospect of the 34.4 km time trial around Neulise, which has the potential to open even wider gaps.
Stage 5 has „sprint finish“ written all over it, with a 1 km home straight in Saint-Priest, in the suburbs of Lyon. However, from then on, the road will bend towards the sky in an Alpine trilogy that will set out from Hauterives, in front of the Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval, which has hosted the launch of large-scale projects more than once. Act 1 will pit the field against the Col du Granier and, after that, the Collet d’Alevard, following an 11.1 km slog at an average gradient of 8.1%. Act 2 packs an even bigger punch, with an altitude gain of 4,268 metres over a distance of 145.5 km. The traditional Col des Saisies, Col des Aravis and Col de la Colombière will soften up the peloton before the eye-popping Côte d’Arâches and the premiere of Samoëns 1600. The man in the lead at the Haute-Savoie resort will be in a solid position going into the finale, but Act 3 will be rife with opportunities for others to usurp the crown at the eleventh hour. If the field is feeling riotous at the start in Thônes, a dangerous move can emerge on the Col de la Forclaz de Montmin, consolidate on the climb to Mont Salève in the second part of the stage and put the leader between a rock and a hard place on the Plateau des Glières. It was on this side of the ascent that Julian Alaphilippe rocketed to the win in the final stage of the 2013 Tour de l’Avenir.
The stages of the 76th edition:
Sunday 2 June stage 1: Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule > Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule, 174,8 km
Monday 3 June, stage 2: Gannat > Col de la Loge, 142 km
Tuesday 4 June, stage 3: Celles-sur-Durolle > Les Estables, 181,2 km
Wednesday 5 June, stage 4: Saint-Germain-Laval > Neulise, 34,4 km (clm-ind.)
Thursday 6 June, stage 5: Amplepuis > Saint-Priest, 200,2 km
Friday 7 June, stage 6: Hauterives > Le Collet d’Allevard, 173,2 km
Saturday 8 June, stage 7: Albertville > Samoëns 1600, 145,5 km
Sunday 9 June, stage 8: Thônes > Plateau des Glières, 152,5 km