Critérium du Dauphiné: Alpe d’Huez highlight of 2013 route, race to begin in Switzerland
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Monday, April 15, 2013

Critérium du Dauphiné: Alpe d’Huez highlight of 2013 route, race to begin in Switzerland

by Shane Stokes at 7:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Critérium du Dauphiné
Tour parcours for this year’s edition unveiled by ASO

Criterium du DauphineArguably the most famous climb in cycling, Alpe d’Huez, will return to the Critérium du Dauphiné this year, with race organisers ASO confirming that the iconic mountain will feature as part of stage seven to Superdévoluy. The climb will come before the ascent to the top of the Col de Sarenne, which will also feature during this year’s Tour de France as part of the first-ever double ascent of Alpe d’Huez during a single stage.

Including sections of the Tour de France route is a regular tactic of the Critérium du Dauphiné and will undoubtedly entice a large number of the race contenders to take part in the earlier event.

The race begins on Sunday June 2nd with a 121 kilometre stage starting and finishing in Champéry. It will be the first time the race has ever started in Switzerland, although it did previously include a stage finish in Geneva in 2002.

That opening stage will already have a big effect on the general classification as it features four climbs, including two first category ascents, and should see a strong rider take the first yellow jersey.

The following day’s 183 kilometre stage from Châtel to Oyonnax is billed as one for the sprinters but, in truth, it could well play into the hands of a breakaway. It includes a smattering of climbs, with the five third and fourth category ascents followed by a second category ramp just over ten kilometres from the end.

Day three runs 164 kilometres from Ambérieu-en-Bugey to Tarare and looks much more certain to finish in a bunch gallop. The GC riders will seek to preserve energy prior to stage four, a crucial 32.5 kilometre time trial from Villars-les-Dombes to Parc des Oiseaux. It’s a very flat race against the clock and fast times are guaranteed.

By then past the halfway point, the action heats up for the climbers on Thursday June 6th with a 139 kilometre stage beginning in Grésy-sur-Aix and heading to Valmorel. It's flat to lumpy for the most part, but the final twelve kilometres are steeply uphill, concluding with a hors categorie climb.

More climbs following on the 141.5 kilometre sixth stage from La Léchère to Grenoble, but the final twenty kilometres are downhill, and could point towards a large group sprint.

Criterium du DauphineThat stage should give the riders a slight pause before two very difficult final days in the race. Stage seven starts in Le Pont-de-Claix and hits the bottom of the Alpe d’Huez after less than an hour of racing. Once the historic Tour climb is ridden, the fragmented peloton will continue climbing to the top of the second category Col de Sarenne, which tops out 1966 metres above sea level. A long, technically tricky descent into Le Freney d’Oisons follows, then the riders will tackle two first category climbs prior to the uphill ramp to Superdévoluy.

The concluding leg of the race sees things finish with a bang. The 152 kilometre stage from Sisteron includes two first category climbs in the final fifty kilometres, including the summit finish at Risoul. That should ensure that the final Maillot Jaune remains up for grabs right until the end, and will give those riders targeting the Tour de France a strong indication of how their form is shaping up prior to the latter race’s start in Corsica just under three weeks later.

Critérium du Dauphiné 2013 (2.HC):

Sunday 2nd June, stage 1: Champéry-Champéry, 121 km
Monday 3rd June, stage 2: Châtel - Oyonnax, 183 km
Tuesday 4th June, stage 3: Ambérieu-en-Bugey - Tarare, 164 km
Wednesday 5th June, stage 4: Villars-les-Dombes – Parc des Oiseaux, 32.5 km (individual time-trial).
Thursday 6thJune, stage 5: Grésy-sur-Aix - Valmorel, 139 km
Friday 7th June, stage 6: La Léchère - Grenoble, 141.5 km
Saturday 8th June, stage 7: Le Pont-de-Claix - Superdévoluy, 184 km
Sunday 9th June, stage 8: Sisteron -Risoul, 152 km


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