Key points :
Proceedings for the 75th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné will be kicked off in Chambon-sur-Lac, at the heart of the Auvergne region’s ancient volcanoes. It will be the second start of the event in the Puy-de-Dôme department following the gathering of the peloton in Clermont-Ferrand in 2020.
The route of the first stage is 158-km long, beginning and finishing in Chambon-sur-Lac: the surrounding relief will already give observers an indication of who are the riders in form at the time.
The riders take part in the Critérium du Dauphiné to find the answers to all the questions concerning them with a month to go before the Tour de France and, naturally, to achieve prestigious victories likely to boost their confidence. For this date inscribed in their diaries on the first weekend of June, they will find themselves in familiar territory. While Chambon-sur-Lac will be proudly adding its name to the map of the event for the first time, several neighbouring municipalities have recently given the elite riders opportunities to express themselves on a variety of terrains. In 2020, it was in the Puy-de-Dôme department, in Clermont-Ferrand, that Wout van Aert victoriously opened an edition reduced to five stages and moved to August due to the exceptional “Covid year” schedule. The following year in Issoire, Brent Van Moer made a solo breakaway to pick up his finest victory. Finally, in 2022, it was even nearer to the slopes of the Puy de Sancy that David Gaudu surprised Wout van Aert to pip him at the post on the finishing line in Chastreix.
On the programme for 2023, the route of the first stage has been traced out to start and finish at Chambon-sur-Lac, taking in a 158-kilometre expedition among the direct surroundings of the town, spread over four loops. In particular, the first will take the peloton to the ski resort of Mont-Dore, while the second, measuring 23 kilometres and containing three laps of the same circuit, will include obstacles to the sprinters’ ambitions such as the Côte du Rocher de l’Aigle (900 m with an average gradient of 6.7%). In total, there will be 2,860 m of climbing during the day, with the relief of the Auvergne putting the riders to the test from the outset. The visit to Chambon-sur-Lac will also offer the riders a short preview of the 10th stage of the Tour de France 2023, since the peloton will be passing through the municipality midway between Vulcania and Issoire in July.