30 March 2011

Critérium du Dauphiné 2011 route

Route announced today
Running from Sunday June 5th to 12th 2011, the 63rd "Critérium du Dauphiné" will be made up of 1 prologue and 7 stages and will cover a total distance of 1,053 kilometres. This race used to be called the Dauphine Libere (before 2010), but is now officially titled Critérium du Dauphiné. This is the official website for the Critérium du Dauphiné http://www.letour.fr/2011/CDD/COURSE/us/le_parcours.html .

It is a bit difficult to locate information on this race online. The website looks just like the Tour de France website (but with a green color theme), because the race is organized by the same company - Amaury Sport Organisation. A.S.O. also organizes the Tour de France, Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix, Dakar, Paris Marathon and French Golf Open. Riders have yet to be announced for the week-long race which begins June 5, 2011.  
Route map of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine
2011 Critérium du Dauphiné stages
Stage Type Date Start and Finish Distance Details
P Prologue Sunday 5 June Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne - Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne 5.5 km
1 En ligne Monday 6 June Albertville - Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse 144 km
2 En ligne Tuesday 7 June Voiron - Lyon 179 km
3 Individual time-trial Wednesday 8 June Grenoble - Grenoble 42.5 km
4 En ligne Thursday 9 June La Motte - Servolex - Mâcon 172 km
5 En ligne Friday 10 June Parc des Oiseaux - Villars-les-Dombes - Les Gets 207.5 km
6 En ligne Saturday 11 June Les Gets - Le Collet d’Allevard 185 km
7 En ligne Sunday 12 June Pontcharra - La Toussuire 117.5 km

Update: post Saturday, June 4, 2011 Dauphine begins tomorrow

The Critérium du Dauphiné is run by A.S.O., and since I admit I would like to support A.S.O these days a little more than the UCI, I am a fan of this race. I was also lucky enough to see the race come over the Col du Telegraphe in France in 2007. The Tour de France is such a huge event, to be a fan at the Dauphine is a completely different experience. The atmosphere is very laid-back with easy access and small crowds. The weather can be quite cold in June in France, and not everything might be open (shops and restaurants), and snow may edge the roads of many of the high mountain passes in the Alpes, but hotels are not problem, nor is the typical heat of summer.

In 2007 when we were in the area to climb a number of the more popular cols (on the map below), we stayed in Valloire. Valloire is the ski village that lies on the road between the climbs of the Col du Telegraphe and the Col du Galibier. It is a very picturesque town, although quiet in June. However let me say that the Critérium du Dauphiné finishes in La Toussuire this year in the valley north of Valloire. Although the climb might seem impressive, in June, the ski village of La Toussuire is one of the ugliest scariest looking places on this earth that I have ever seen. The climbs of Col de la Croix de Fer and Col du Glandon are nearby however, and are both cool climbs! Seeing a stage of the Dauphine race took about 10% the effort of attending a stage of the Tour de France. 
Map of bike climbs in the French Alps (click to enlarge)
Some images from the 2007 Dauphine Libere - Stage 6 on the Col du Télégraphe and the stage finish in Valloire:  

All Photos by PedalDancer.com