Details of each stage of the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné, including profiles
As well as being a prestigious race in its own right, the Dauphiné is often perceived as one of the most important pre-Tour de France races. A chance for the leading contenders to check not only their own form, but those of rivals.
Typically, the Dauphiné offers a balanced route including a time trial, climbing stages and flat(ter) days. Here we take a look at each stage of the 2017 edition.
Stage one, Sunday June 4
Saint Etienne – Saint Etienne, 170km
A very punchy looking opening stage will greet the riders for 2017 Dauphiné, featuring a lot of climbing, so there will be no easing into the race.
With eight categorised climbs on the route, attacks are most likely to come on the three closing 15km circuits which go over the Côte de Rochetaillée, a 3.4km climb at 5.4 per cent. While the more versatile fast men could hold on here, it looks unlikely that this will come down to a big bunch finish, particularly with a small rise to the finish line.
Stage two, Monday June 5
Saint Chamond – Arlanc, 171km
A more conventional sprint stage will be a welcome relief to riders after such a tough opener, but there’s still four categorised climbs to get over through the 171km of stage two.
Still, this is likely to culminate in a bunch gallop with two circuits in Arlanc the climax of the stage.
Stage three, Tuesday June 6
Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon – Tullins, 184km
The sprinters who missed out on stage two won’t have to wait long until another opportunity presents itself.
The longer stage three course looks far less testing than stage two’s, and looks nailed on for a sprint if the breakaway isn’t given too much slack.
In true Dauphiné style there’s still four categorised climbs to get over, but the profile will give the GC contenders enough time to recover and focus their efforts on a crucial time trial on the following day.
Stage four, Wednesday June 7
La Tour-du-Pin – Bourgoin-Jallieu, 23.5km (ITT)
The first crucial test for the GC contenders is going to see those with the most time trial prowess take an early lead.
The super-lightweight climbers will be looking to minimise their losses here, despite a small climb in the middle of the course. Riders like Richie Porte (BMC) and defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) however, will relish the opportunity to put some time into their rivals with some big power sections that suit their TT capabilities.
Stage five, Thursday June 8
La Tour-de-Salvagny – Mâcon -175 km
One last opportunity for the sprinters in the Dauphiné comes on stage five before the race hits the mountains proper.
The sprinters should have taken it easy over the time trial on stage four, so should be fully charged to take on the sprint finish.
The race last finished here in 2011, when John Degenkolb was able to take the stage.
Stage six, Friday June 9
Parc des Oiseaux Villars-les-Dombes – La Motte-Servolex, 145.5km
The mountains arrive in earnest for the peloton and give fans a preview of the ninth stage of this year’s Tour de France.
The last 50km over the HC Mont du Chat are the same as the Tour, with the difficulty of the climb being matched by a fairly technical and treacherous descent to the finish.
It’ll be the first opportunity for the climbers to make some headway, but they’ll need to be focussed on the descent to make any attacks count.
Stage seven, Saturday June 10
Aosta – Alpe d’Huez, 167.5 km
We were promised a trip to Alpe d’Huez at this year’s race and that’s what we got…sort of.
The classic hairpins of the Tour won’t appear here, with riders making their way up to the ski resort via the narrow roads of the Col de Sarenne.
The Tour descended this climb on the stage that took in two ascents of Alpe d’Huez and was roundly criticised for it’s poor road surface.
There’s some steep sections before the top before the dip down towards the Alpe, but this will be one of the most decisive finished of the 2017 Dauphiné.
Stage eight, Sunday June 11
Albertville – Plateau de Solaison, 115 km
The race comes to a spectacular conclusion on the final day with a tough stage of mountains ahead for the peloton.
Four categorised climbs, including two first category and HC category finish mean that you’ll need to be at your best to make any gains or just stay in touch with the GC.
The summit finish to Plateau de Solaison will no doubt prove the most decisive, with an average gradient of 9.2 per cent over its 11.3km.
Critérium du Dauphiné 2016 route
Prologue, Sunday June 5
Les Gets to Les Gets, 4km individual time trial
This year, the climbing starts from the gun, with a short and decidedly sharp mountain time trial in the ski resort of Les Gets. The riders will tackle the Montée du Mont Chéry, with its average gradient of 9.7 per cent. Some sections reach over 15 per cent, so this is definitely one for the climbers. Even though it’s short, expect to see significant time gaps appear – and it’s possible that whoever is going to win overall could also win here and then have to defend the lead throughout the following week.
Stage one, Monday June 6
Cluses to Saint-Vulbas, 186km
After the previous day’s shock to the system, the opening road stage is a slightly more sedate affair. Four fourth category climbs are included but this could be a day for a bunch finish – though that opening prologue may have deterred many pure sprinters from even entering the race.
Stage two, Tuesday June 7
Crêches-sur-Saône to Chalmazel-Jeansagnière, 168km
A lumpy stage ends with a stiff test with the category two climb of Côte de Saint-Georges-en-Couzan followed almost immediately by a climb to the finish in Chalmazel-Jeansagnière. It’s the sort of terrain that you may expect to see a day-long break get caught on the final ascent, with a few from the escape mixing it up with the general classification men to fight for the stage win.
Stage three, Wednesday June 8
Boën-sur-Lignon to Tournon-sur-Rhône, 187.5km
After a tame start, the riders steadily climb to a pair of category four climbs at the mid-way point followed by a long descent to Arras-sur-Rhone. From there on the stage should come alive, as the steep category two climb of the Côte de Sécheras is tackled with its maximum gradient of over 14 per cent. This provides the ideal launchpad for an attack, positioned 20km from the finish in Tournon-sur-Rhône, almost all downhill.
Stage four, Thursday June 9
Tain-l’Hermitage to Belley, 176km
Whoever is positioned in the race leader’s yellow jersey at this point may be able to take a breather, with a comparatively flat stage to break up the mountain climbing. Anyone fancying their chances in a bunch finish will get their teams to pull in the inevitable escape group. However, the finish isn’t straightforward with a slight rise in gradient up to the line.
Watch: Men’s WorldTour contenders for 2016
Stage five, Friday June 10
La Ravoire to Vaujany, 140km
Seven categorised climbs are served up on stage five, with the most crucial being the final climb to Vaujany, with a nasty little kick at the end. Any showdown at the end between the general classification riders may be muted as they keep in mind that the follow day’s stage has even bigger climbs to tackle.
Stage six, Saturday June 11
La Rochette to Méribel, 141km
Stage six is undoubtedly the stage that settles the race, with five big climbs. A large escape group of GC no-hopers is likely to form up early to tackle the twin peaks of the Col de Champ-Laurent and Col du Grand Cucheron. Then it’s on to the iconic Col de la Madeleine, the biggest climb of the race totalling 19.2km and an average gradient of 7.9 per cent. Anyone left in the escape group after that mid-stage test still has two first-category ascents to look forward to, including the final climb to Méribel. This is the stage that every climber in the race will have ear-marked.
Stage seven, Sunday June 12
Le Pont-de-Claix to Superdévoluy, 151km
No flat city-centre criterium to settle the Dauphiné on its final day: there’s more climbing, offering a final chance for the race lead to be over-turned. This promises to be an exciting finale, and could stretch the resources of any rider and their team looking to top the podium.