Alpe d’Huez may have missed out on inclusion on the Tour de France route for the second year in succession, but reports suggest that the French ski station is likely to host the finish of the penultimate stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné WorldTour race, which will take place on June 4-11.
Although the route of the 70th anniversary edition of the Dauphiné won’t officially be unveiled by race organisation ASO until March 16, rumours of Alpe d’Huez’s inclusion on the route have been spreading since July 2016, when the resort’s mayor, Jean-Yves Noyrey, admitted he was already canvassing ASO for a 2017 Dauphiné stage finish.
French website Cyclism’Actu has now reported that ‘behind the scenes sources’ have confirmed to it that stage seven of the Dauphiné will finish at Alpe d’Huez on June 10.
If the Dauphiné does head for Alpe d’Huez in France’s biggest pre-Tour event, it will be only the second time that the race has finished on cycling’s most iconic climb.
In 2010, Alberto Contador and Janez Brajkovic fought a tightly contested duel on its slopes, the Spaniard taking the stage win as the Slovene hung on to the leader’s jersey.
The race returned to Alpe d’Huez in 2013 during a stage that went up to and through the resort to reach the Col de Sarenne as a dress rehearsal for the Tour de France’s double encounter with the Alpe that occurred a few weeks later.
On that occasion, Belgium’s Thomas de Gendt led the way at Alpe d’Huez and Spaniard Samuel Sánchez won the stage at SuperDévoluy.
According to Cyclism’Actu, the Dauphiné will begin with a stage starting and finishing in Saint-Étienne on June 4.
ASO have already confirmed that Cofidis, Delko-Marseille, Direct Énergie and Wanty-Groupe Gobert will join the 18 WorldTour teams on the start line.