Critérium du Dauphiné

Primož Roglič winning the 2022 Critérium du Dauphiné
Primož Roglič on the podium of the 2022 Critérium du Dauphiné, flanked by Jonas Vingegaard and Ben O'Connor
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Critérium du Dauphiné 2023 Overview
Dates4-11 June 2023
Total distance1,213km
Start Chambon-sur-Lac (France)
FinishLa Bastille - Grenoble Alpes Métropole (France)
UCI rankingWorldTour
Total climbing21,714m
2022 winnerPrimož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma)
Leader's jersey colourYellow
TV coverage (UK)Eurosport, GCN+, Discovery

Where: South-east France
When: Sunday 4 June - Sunday 11 June
Rank: UCI WorldTour

The Critérium du Dauphiné 2023 marks the traditional run-in to the Tour de France, with all eyes carefully studying how the top contenders compete. 

Not every hopeful for the yellow jersey at the Tour will be there this year - Tadej Pogačar being the obvious rider missing - but many will, with defending Tour champion Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) lining up with Dani Martínez (Ineos Grenadiers), Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) and Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroën) among others.

Last year's race was won by Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), who was shadowed to the podium by Vingegaard, who won the final stage. Their teammate Wout van Aert also won two stages, but he is heading to the Tour de Suisse this year instead. O'Connor was the best of the rest last year.

The race was created in 1947 by the newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré, and was known as the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré until 2010. Despite its status as one of the key warmup races for the Tour, just 10 riders have won both races in the same year. Chris Froome won both three times, in 2013, 2015, 2016, while Bernard Hinault did the double in 1979 and 1981.

This year's race takes place entirely in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, in the same region as some of the key parts of this year's Tour will be. There is 1,200km of racing over its eight stages, with barely a flat day included. It is not one for the sprinters.

Make sure you take a look at our piece detailing the eight favourites for the race, and also our how to watch guide.

Critérium du Dauphiné 2023 route

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Critérium du Dauphiné 2023 route
14 JuneChambon-sur-LacChambon-sur-Lac157.7kmHills
25 JuneBrassac-les-MinesLa Chaise-Dieu167.3kmHills
36 JuneMonistrol-sur-LoireLe Coteau194.1kmHills
47 JuneCoursBelmon-de-la-Loire31.1kmHilly ITT
58 JuneCormoranche-sur-SaôneSalins-les-Bains191.1kmHills
69 JuneNantuaCres-Voland170.2kmMountains
710 JunePorte-de-SavoieCol de la Croix de Fer149.7kmMountains
811 JuneLe Pont-de-ClaixLa Bastille-Grenoble Alpes Métropole152.8kmMountains

The full route for the 2023 edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné features four hilly stages, three mountain days and an individual time trial. 

Stage one is a circuit around Chambon-sur-Lac around the Volcans d'Auvergne, a range of dormant volcanoes close to Clermont-Ferrand, where the Tour de France will be a month later. There are five category-four climbs on this punch days, including the Côte du Rocher de l'Aigle three times. A punchy finish is not one for pure fast men.

There is no let up on stage two, with four more categorised climbs. The toughest ascents come early on, however, with the Col de la Toutée  (2.2 km at 6%) and Col des Fourches (2.7 km at 6.5%) inside the first 54km.

The Côte des Guêtes comes inside the final 10km, with another uphill finish following.

Stage three is the most sprinter-friendly stage of the eight, but still features two categorised climbs, including the Côte de Bellevue-la-Montagne (4.9 km at 5.8%). However, there is a flat finish for once in Le Coteau, so it should suit the likes of Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco AlUla) and Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe).

The only individual time trial of the race comes on stage four, but it is not a flat test, with an early climb and then a rise to the finish. There are 408m of elevation across the 31km effort, which is longer than the longest time trial at this year's Tour. It will surely shake up the general classification.

It is a return to hills on stage five, with three categorised climbs, including a second category ascent with less that 15km to go. The Côte de Thésy (3.6km at 8.8%) will surely thin the pack, as the race finishes in the Jura.

Stage six is a first proper mountain test, as the Alps loom into view. The uphill finish to Crest-Voland comes after two other categorised climbs, on a day with 3406m of climbing. The Côte de Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe (3.2km at 6.1%) comes directly before the final climb to the finish, the Côte de Crest-Voland (2.3km at 6.6%).

However, it is stage seven that all the GC contenders will have circled in their calendars. The queen stage contains the highest finish ever in the Dauphiné, the Col de la Croix de Fer. It might sound alright, 13.1km at an average of 6.2%, but it is the ramps in the final portion of the climb that will catch people out. Coming after the Col de la Madeleine (25.1km at 6.2%) and the Col du Mollard (18.5km at 5.8%), it will be a tough day.

The final day is almost as hard, with another hors categorie climb, the Col du Granier (9.6km at 8.6%). That comes along with three other category two climbs, and the Col de Porte (7.4km at 6.8%), which is a first-category. After all that, a final climb to the Bastille of Grenoble might well be decisive. It's only 1.8km, but it has an average of 14.2%. Dreams might die on this final ascent.

About the Critérium du Dauphiné

Usually lasting for eight days, the Critérium du Dauphiné is a sort of compressed version of the Tour, with a variation of Alpine mountains, time-trials, flat and hilly stages held across France’s terrain that resembles what awaits the riders come July.

This race has in the past been a key focus for what is now the Ineos Grenaiders. They won twice through Bradley Wiggins in 2011 and 2012, three times through Chris Froome in 2013, 2015 and 2016, via Geraint Thomas in 2018, and most recently through Richie Porte in 2021.

However, last year it was Jumbo-Visma who dominated, winning three stages and the overall, and second on GC too. 

Critérium du Dauphiné: Recent winners

2022: Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
2021: Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers
2020: Daniel Martínez (Col) EF Pro Cycling
2019: Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
2018: Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
2017: Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
2016: Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky
2015: Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky
2014: Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp
2013: Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky
2012: Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky
2011: Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky
2010: Janez Brajkovic (Slo) RadioShack