Critérium du Dauphiné

Critérium du Dauphiné
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Where: South-eastern France
When: Sunday 5 June - Sunday 12 June
Rank: UCI WorldTour

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

Richie Porte (Ineos Grenadiers) is the reigning champion of the eight-stage French race, beating Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) to victory in 2021.

Daniel Martínez (then EF Pro Cycling) won the general classification in 2020, while Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) secured victory in 2019, taking the mantle from 2018 winner Geraint Thomas.

Critérium du Dauphiné 2022 route

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Stage one, Sunday June 5La Voulte-sur-Rhône - Beauchastel192km hilly
Stage two, Monday June 6Saint-Péray to Brives-Charensac170km hilly
Stage three, Tuesday June 7Saint-Paulien to Chastreix-Sancy169km hilly
Stage four, Wednesday June 8Montbrison to La Bâtie d'Urfé31.9km ITT
Stage five, Thursday June 9Thizy-les-Bourgs to Chaintré162.5km hilly
Stage six, Friday June 10Rives to Gap196.5km hilly
Stage seven, Saturday June 11Saint-Chaffrey to Vaujany135km mountain
Stage eight, Sunday June 12Saint-Alban-Leysse to Plateau de Solaison139km mountain

The full route for the 2022 edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné features five hilly stages, two mountain days and an individual time trial. 

Stage one will see the riders cycle from La Voulte-sur-Rhône to Beauchastel, two towns which are just four kilometres apart. A predominantly hilly stage, the finale is flat along the wide roads as the peloton charges towards the finish at Beauchastel. 

The second stage contains a mixtures of punchy climbs and ascents requiring longer bouts of effort, with four classified climbs offering plenty of opportunities for a breakaway rider to score maximum mountains classification points. Still classed as a hilly day, stage two also provides plenty of downhill segments for riders to open up their legs. 

Day three is largely similar to the first two days, but the ending at Chastreix-Sancy is the race's first uphill finish. An elevation gain of 2,700 metres will certainly tax the riders, who won't have a rest day offering any chance at recovery. 

Although, saying that, in the middle of the eight-day event comes an individual time trial, from Montbrison to La Bâtie d'Urfé. Covering over 30km, the course is largely flat and only requires a few technical turns. The terrain will certainly be a welcome addition midway through the race for everyone. 

A punchy day awaits on stage five, with lots of short, sharp climbs the order of play. With the final 15km either downhill or flat, there could be an intense sprint to the line for the leading group. 

While stage six is classed as a hilly day, this is where the mountains begin to come into play at the Critérium du Dauphiné. In the past decade, the Tour de France has had three stage finishes in Gap, with a solo attack winning each time. A similar stage also featured on the 2014 edition of the Dauphiné, with Yuri Trofimov soloing to victory. 

Approximately half of stage seven goes uphill, with the gradient reaching double figures as the peloton completes the Lac du Verney climb on the run towards Vaujany. 

The winner of the Critérium du Dauphiné will undoubtedly come from whoever fares best on the final climb of the entire race. The Plateau de Solaison is an 11.3km climb with an average gradient of 9.2%, coming at the end of eight continuous days of racing. Whoever wins will put themselves in the perfect mindset ahead of the Tour de France, starting less than three weeks after the conclusion of this race. 

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 Team Ineos (Sky): not only have the team won seven of the past ten editions - 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 - they also tend to dominate the race with imposing performances across the whole team.

Their support riders often outperform other teams’ leaders, as evidenced by the fact two Ineos riders finished in the top three of the General Classification last time out. 

Critérium du Dauphiné Start list  (opens in new tab)

Critérium du Dauphiné: Recent winners

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
2009 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Caisse d’Epargne
2008 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Caisse d’Epargne
2007 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Ag2r Prevoyance