2014 Critérium du Dauphiné Route

Dauphine 2014 map

ASO have announced the route for the Critérium du Dauphiné in June. The race is a concentrated version of the Tour de France and this year’s edition is no exception. If the upcoming Paris-Nice has an experimental route, this is a more traditional course that will offer selective racing ahead of the Tour de France.

Sunday 8 June – Sunday 15 June

Stage 1 is a 10km time trial around the city of Lyon including a climb up the Montée de l’Observance and fascinatingly the new 1.8km cycle path that’s tunnelled into the hillside and know as Le Tube. The tunnel is illuminated by projectors and a range of images can be displayed to give a disco vibe – the image above for an example that could go Tron or the wild boat ride from Charlie and Chocolate Factory. It’ll be a technical challenge to film.

After an urban start with a modern tunnel, Stage 2 heads west to the massif central for a rural finish in a land that, if it’s not forgotten, is often ignored by time. The finish is on the Col du Béal, a novelty for the race and worth showcasing. Part of the Haut Forez park (“high forest” in old dialect), it’s fine cycling. Starting from Vertolaye it’s 12km long at 7%, a worthy rival of many an Alpine climb although it’s no Galibier or Stelvio, think Aravis or Sestriere. But it’s better, scenic in an intimate and private with soaring peaks but the road picks its way up through peaceful woodland. It won’t determine the race but it will provide an early selection.

Flashback: the Col du Béal was used as a summit finish for Stage 3 of the 2010 Tour de l’Avenir. The stage was won by Yannick Eijssen, a brilliant climber in the amateur ranks who, now with BMC Racing, has yet to impose himself in the pro ranks. Second place when to Colombian ace Darwin Atapuma with Andrew Talansky in third place. Nairo Quintana was tenth on the day and went on to win the race outright but had yet to make a name for himself, cyclingnews.com was calling him “Alexander Quintanarojas“.

The press release says Stages 3 and 4 are for the sprinters with flat finishes in Le Teil and Gap but there’s also mention of the dreaded Col de Manse before Gap, the sharp climb usually followed by a tricky descent of La Rochette where Andy Schleck lost out to Cadel Evans in 2011 and Chris Froome almost lost it last summer – that’s not yet confirmed though.

Stage 5 looks like a great day’s racing with a series of climbs before the infamous Rampe de Laffrey, much harder than the statistic suggest. Stage 6 seems the closest to a transition stage as the race heads north to finish in Poisy below the Semnoz and next to the opal hued Lake Annecy.

The race has a final Alpine showdown over the last weekend with Stage 7 going to Switzerland and Tour de Romandie territory for a finish above Finhaut by the giant Emosson dam. It’s 10km at 8% which is hard but not as steep as the 87% funicular railway used by visiting tourists. Finally Stage 8 is the now traditional “sprint”, just 130km over mountainous but fast terrain.

Route Summary: if Paris-Nice is experimenting without a summit finish or a time trial the Dauphiné is serving up some classic recipes from the Alpine stage race cookbook although with only one only 10km time trial, a change from previous editions where a long time trial has been featured as a practice run for the upcoming Tour de France. Still 10km is enough to open up some gaps and the opening stage brings an urban start and hopefully in front of a large crowd and could be visually stunning with the Tube tunnel. But crowds and modernity are quickly escaped with a visit to the Massif Central and the first summit finish. These two stages could decide the race but that’s for the riders and if things aren’t settled on the opening the weekend the final weekend should be decisive with the tough Swiss finish.

Teams: the 18 UCI ProTeams + Cofidis, IAM Cycling and NetApp-Endura. Only three with ASO citing safety reasons for a the reduced bunch but it’s cheaper too. Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador are planning to ride.

19 thoughts on “2014 Critérium du Dauphiné Route”

  1. I think if all the protagonists remain injury, we’re in for a cracking season of GC racing. Nibbles, Froome-dog, Wiggo, Cadel, TJ, Nairo, Piti, Bertie, Porte, Uran Uran – I mean the list is endless. Throw in a Schleck or two and it’s a great mix.

    • They both almost crashed, you can see the picture of Froome with one food on the ground. But it’s not the Col de Sarenne, another dangerous descent where Contador attacked and this caused some trouble.

  2. Filming the tunnel sequence may prove to be easier than initially suspected if the cameras are mounted on rails along the mile or so course. Then, of course, drones may also be used.

  3. I assume the whole peleton , motos and cars, will go through the tunnel (normally it accommodates pedestrians, cyclists and buses), so camera bikes should be at least able to film the head and tail of the bunch. The light level might be low for video though? But it is just a few minutes and hopefully there will be a son-et- lumiere.

    • It’ll be one by one for the tunnel as it’s a time trial. Presumably they can set up some fixed cameras or relay points for the wireless signal as it could be unique filming although it runs just a time trial, it’ll be hard to make it too creative. Photography might work better.

      • Wouldn’t surprise me if they don’t show anything from the tunnel except for a few novelty shots. It’s a TT so while any one rider is in the short tunnel there is whole course worth of riders to film elsewhere.

  4. With at least nnnnn,nineteen cols in the week’s parcours I’m already salivating at the racing’s prospects. Never mind the big GC hitters and potential movers, they and the media will take care of themselves: it’s the young eagles of the peloton that I can’t wait to see tackle this splendid route. Edmonson and Barguil, especially, should be up for making a bid here for team berths in the big one.

  5. I rode the Col de la Forclaz-Barrage d’Emosson double a few years ago. It is a magnificent climb, particularly at the end with the views of the lake below and the Chamonix valley with the Mont Blanc massif in the distance. I think, however, that the average percentages you quote, INRNG, are a little misleading. The Forclaz by itself is 12km at 8%, followed by a short descent before beginning the ascent to the dam which is about 11km of which the last 7 are at over 9%. The last two km are the steepest and should make for a great finish.

  6. @inrng, I just wanted to de-lurk for a minute to echo the other posts-of-praise you’ve been getting this week. You provide an unparalleled depth and interest of analysis without excluding and without patronising, as others have said. I’ve learned more from you this past year than all the other cycling sites and publications put together.

    It particularly struck me this morning, though, having dipped below the line on a news article on Froome (and then regretted it instantly), how the tone of your posts attracts a uniquely lively, well-informed and civilised debate. Of course there are disagreements but the people here don’t resort to prejudice or mud-slinging, but explain what they mean and remember to be courteous. So this is just as much a thank-you to all the commenters as it is to Inner Ring himself. Long may you all thrive!

    Embarrassed now… as you were. 🙂

  7. +1 Elle. Like you and many others I’ve been reading the INRNG blog daily as a literate and civilised escape from the rigours of daily life. And to revel in the detail of pro-cycling’s school of hard knocks. Especially now we are in the season of wind, rain, cobbles & hard-core Flandrians. I love the Classics. Tough, gritty, epic, historic, mythic, sometimes obscure (the Kuurne donkey, anyone?): a world away from the champagne & media craziness of Le Tour. Though I dare say Belgians may say that about De Ronde. Thanks INRNG.

  8. In prospect this could be a very short race indeed if the UCI enforce their rules (following on from yesterday’s discussion). We could see the situation where every rider that completes the Stage 1 time trial (including “the new 1.8km cycle path”) is DQ’d (any others would be DNF or perhaps DNS).

    • Ha! If the path is designated as the course it’s ok. There has been talk of trying to send Milan-Sanremo along the cycle path that follows the coast. Built on an old railway line it’s narrow the idea is to promote the cycle path but it’s impossible to send a bunch down there.

  9. VERY disappointing course. Less of everything: less TT, less serious climbing, and a lot less kilometres. Ridiculous mileage. Switzerland looks much better this year. If there is any action on this Dauphiné, it will feel more like a criterium than real racing.

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