Details of each stage of the 2018 Critérium du Dauphiné, including profiles
The race will start with a 6.6km prologue time trial in Valence, before two hilly stages Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert and Belleville that will hopefully encourage attacking racing, even if the GC contenders will be happy to get through unscathed and without any time loss.
A flat 30.5km team time trial comes the following day, which will provide a key indication as to the sort of teams we can expect to perform well at the very similar team time trial which will form stage three of the Tour de France a month later.
From there the race heads into the mountains, with the longest stage of the race through the Vercors Regional Natural Park which includes the first of four back-to-back summit finishes, even if the toughest climb of the day will be the Mont Noir which is crested with nearly 40km remaining.
Stage five features long, flat valley roads before a summit finish to the ski resort of Valmorel before the weekend sees two short mountain stages that should see plenty of attacks.
Stage six is almost a carbon copy of stage 11 of the 2018 Tour, with the narrow, steep climbs of the Montée de Bisanne and Col du Pré encouraging attacking riding, before the steadier and wider final climb to La Rosière.
The race’s victory will be crowned at the end of another brutal day of climbing to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc, which provided the setting for a memorable day of aggressive racing on wet roads at the 2016 Tour de France, and we’ll be hoping for similar drama at the Dauphiné.
Critérium du Dauphiné 2018 route: stages
|Prologue, Sun June 3||Valence||6.6km (ITT)|
|Stage one, Mon June 4||Valence to Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert||179km|
|Stage two, Tue June 5||Montbrison to Belleville||180.5km|
|Stage three, Wed June 6||Pont-de-Vaux to Louhans-Châteaurenaud||30.5km (TTT)|
|Stage four, Thu June 7||Chazey-sur-Ain to Lans-en-Vercors||181km|
|Stage five, Fri June 8||Grenoble to Valmorel||130.5km|
|Stage six, Sat June 9||Frontenex to La Rosière Espace San Bernardo||110km|
|Stage seven, Sun June 10||Moûtiers to Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc||129km|
Critérium du Dauphiné 2018 route: stage-by-stage
Prologue, Sunday June 3: Valence, 6.6km (ITT)
For the first time since 2012, the Critérium du Dauphiné will start with a flat prologue around the streets of Valence, where the time gaps are likely to be small and there shouldn’t be too much influence on the general classification
Stage one, Monday June 4: Valence to Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert, 179km
The opening road stage will force riders to concentrate from the start with a second-category climb after just nine kilometres. Six more climbs follow, including two laps of a hilly finishing circuit that will hopefully encourage attacks.
Stage two, Tuesday June 5: Montbrison to Belleville, 180.5km
Stage two sees more climbing, with a selection of third- and fourth-category climbs for the riders to get their teeth into. However the last of these is almost 30km for the finish, so the sprinters’ teams might still hope for a bunch sprint in Belleville.
Stage three, Wednesday June 6: Pont-de-Vaux to Louhans-Châteaurenaud, 30.5km
Just like stage three in the Tour de France, stage three in the Critérium du Dauphiné is a flat team time trial that is just over 30km in length. This will be the last team time trial before the Tour, so keep an eye on who looks in good shape ahead of July.
Stage four, Thursday June 7: Chazey-sur-Ain to Lans-en-Vercors, 181km
After four stages of time trials and hills, the peloton will hit the mountains proper in the longest stage of the race. The final 4.8km climb to Lans-en-Vercors should provide the launchpad for stage winner, but its the 17.8km climb of Mont Noir that precedes it that really has the potential to cause damage.
Stage five, Friday June 8: Grenoble to Valmorel, 130.5km
Stage five is really all about the final climb to Valmorel, which comes after a long, flat run up the valley. Tune in for the final 13km of this one, although the steady gradient and wide road up to the ski resort might make it easy for the trains of the GC contenders to take control and deter attacks.
Stage six, Saturday June 9: Frontenex to La Rosière Espace San Bernardo, 110km
The Dauphiné is right on trend with its use of short stages at the end of the race, but this stage is all about prep for the upcoming Tour as it is almost a carbon copy of the route the riders will cover on stage 11 in July. The climb to La Rosière might look like the most crucial on paper, but the Montée de Bisanne and Col du Pré are both narrow roads with some fearsome gradients that should encourage long-range attacks.
Stage seven, Sunday June 10: Moûtiers to Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc, 129km
Another short stage to end the race, but another that packs in a huge amony of climbing. The Cormet de Roseland and Col de Saises are both long climbs, but the final ascent to Sain-Gervais, covered in the shadow of Mont Blanc, will provide a fitting finale to the race, and provided drama in heavy rain at the 2016 Tour.