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Countdown to the 2024 Critérium du Dauphiné: Excitement Mounts in Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule

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2024 Critérium du Dauphiné: How to Watch & PreviewBas Czerwinski - Getty Images


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The 76th Critérium du Dauphiné starts this Sunday, June 2, with a 174.8-kilometer road race that starts and ends in Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule–and we can’t wait! This 8-day mini-Tour de France offers everything we love about its larger, more prestigious cousin, including several of the Tour’s top contenders, stages that offer something for every kind of rider, and even a yellow leader’s jersey that matches the Tour de France maillot jaune.

Like many European bike races, the Critérium du Dauphiné (we just call it “the Dauphiné”) was originally created to promote a local newspaper, the Dauphiné Libéré, a provincial newspaper that covers the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of south-central France—the area that the race calls its home. In fact, the race was actually called the “Dauphiné Libéré” until 2010, at which point it was taken over by the Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.), the organizers of the Tour de France.

The race highlights one of the most beautiful regions in France, an area that includes the Alps, Mont Ventoux, and the Massif Central. This gives the organizers lots of options when it comes to building a challenging course, and they often create stages that mirror those in the upcoming Tour de France. This is one of the main reasons why it’s a popular dress rehearsal for General Classification riders hoping to be at their best for the French grand tour.

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The peloton, led by the Frenchman Armand de las Cuevas, climbs the Col de la Croix-Fry on June 13, 1998, before the finish of the 6th stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré.PASCAL PAVANI - Getty Images

And it’s not uncommon for riders to win the Critérium du Dauphiné and then the Tour de France six weeks later. Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard-Hansen did it last year with Jumbo-Visma. Team Sky made winning both races a habit in the 2010s, with Britons Chris Froome winning both events in 2013, 2015, and 2016, and Geraint Thomas winning the Dauphiné-Tour combo in 2018.

It’s also a race that has traditionally favored Americans. Five riders from the United States have won the prestigious event in its 75-year history, and we wouldn’t be surprised if America makes it six by the time the race wraps up on the Plateau des Glières next Sunday.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2024 Critérium du Dauphiné, one of the most exciting and important week-long stage races of the season:

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The 2024 Route

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A.S.O.

This year’s Dauphiné covers 1203.8 km (746 mi) spread over eight stages. The race begins Sunday with Stage 1, a jagged road stage around Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule that–despite three categorized climbs early in the stage–should end with a field sprint.

But Monday’s Stage 2, a 142-kilometer road stage that begins in Gannat, definitely won’t. That stage contains four categorized climbs, including two Category 2 ascents on the way to an uphill finish on the Col de la Loge. This could be an early day for the Dauphiné’s General Classification contenders to try and take the yellow leader’s jersey. If they don’t, the stage will certainly go to a breakaway filled with puncheurs.

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Elevation profile os Stage 2 A.S.O.

Stage 3 continues this year’s punchy trend with a hilly route filled with five categorized climbs. The 181.2-kilometer stage begins in Celles-sur-Durolle and ends with an uphill finish on the Category 3 climb to Les Estables, a 3.8km climb with an average gradient of 5.2 percent.

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Elevation profile of Stage 3A.S.O.

Wednesday brings Stage 4, a 34.4-kilometer individual time trial from Saint-Germain-Laval to Neulise. This should cause the first real shuffling of the General Classification of the race, with men like Primož Roglič (BORA-hansgrohe) and Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step) among the favorites to win the stage and take the yellow jersey.

Thursday’s Stage 5 is the longest stage of the Dauphiné, a 200.2-kilometer ride from Amplepuis to Saint-Priest. Even with four categorized climbs spread throughout the stage. This should be the last chance for the sprinters–unless a breakaway ruins their plans.

And then come the mountains, starting with Friday’s Stage 6, a 173.2-kilometer stage that starts in Hauterives and ends with a summit finish on the hors categorie (“Beyond Category”) Collet d’Allevard, an 11.1km climb with an average gradient of 8.1-percent.

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Elevation profile of Stage 6A.S.O.

Starting in Albertville, Stage 7 is even harder, with four Category 1 ascents and then a summit finish on the hors categorie climb to the Samoëns 1600 ski resort–all crammed into just 145.5 km. The climb to Samoëns 1600 is a beast: 10 km long, the climb averages 9.3 percent–and even that’s a bit misleading thanks to the opening kilometer’s 3.3 percent average gradient. With over 4,200m of elevation gain, this is the hardest stage in this year’s Dauphiné.

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Elevation profile of Stage 7A.S.O.

But just in case the race hasn’t been decided yet, Stage 8 ends the week with a bang. Beginning in the town of Thônes–near the base of the Category 1 Col de la Forclaz de Montmin–the 152.5km stage takes the riders over three categorized climbs before yet another summit finish, this time on the Category 1 Plateau des Glières. This is another short, intense stage that should provide an exciting conclusion to the 2024 Critérium du Dauphiné.

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Elevation profile of Stage 8A.S.O.

How to Watch Critérium du Dauphiné in the U.S.

NBC’s Peacock ($5.99/month or $59.99/year) streams all events organized by A.S.O., which means you can watch the Dauphiné in June and then the Tour de France in July. If you’re looking for ad-free coverage, you’ll need a subscription to Peacock Premium Plus, which runs $11.99 per month or $119.99 for the year.

The Peacock app is available on Roku, Apple devices, Android and AndroidTV devices, Google platforms, Chromecast, Xbox consoles, PlayStation 4 and 5 consoles, VIZIO SmartCast TVs, and LG Smart TVs. You can also watch online via the Peacock website.

How to Watch Critérium du Dauphiné in Canada

If you’re in Canada, FloBikes ($29.99/month CDN) is the best way to watch the Critérium du Dauphiné with all eight stages available live and on-demand on FloBikes.com, the FloSports IOS app, and the FloSports app for Amazon FireTV, Roku, and Apple TV.

If you have cable and prefer conventional television viewing, each stage of the Dauphiné will be shown on CNBC. This year, the network looks set to show replays, as–according to NBC’s website–Stage 1 is scheduled to air at 1:00 p.m. EDT, a few hours after the stage is expected to end.

How to Watch Critérium du Dauphiné in Europe

The Critérium du Dauphiné will be broadcast in the United Kingdom and around Europe on Discovery+, which carries Eurosport’s live coverage. The Basic plan is priced at £3.99 per month or £39.99 annually in the UK (7-day free trial included), and it can be integrated into your Amazon Prime Video account.

What Happened Last Year

As it did the year before (sorta), the 2023 Critérium du Dauphiné served as a bit of a crystal ball heading into the Tour de France, with Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard and Jumbo-Visma dominating the race from start to finish. In all, the Dutch super-team won four stages, with France’s Christophe Laporte winning Stages 1 and 3 (and the green jersey as the winner of the Points Classification) and Vingegaard winning Stages 5 and 7 on his way to winning the race overall. The Dane won his second consecutive Tour de France six weeks later.

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Dario Belingheri - Getty Images

Great Britain’s Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) finished second–he went on to finish third at the Tour de France–and Australia’s Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën Team) finished third. Spain’s Carlos Rodriguez won the white jersey as the Dauphiné’s Best Young Rider, and Italy’s Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) won the polka dot jersey as the Dauphiné’s King of the Mountains.

Riders to Watch

Primož Roglič (BORA-hansgrohe)

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Tim de Waele - Getty Images

Roglič won the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2022 and is once again using the French WorldTour stage race as a dress rehearsal for the Tour de France. The Slovenian was one of the victims of the horrible crash in April’s Itzulia Basque Country–the same crash that took down Vingegaard, who won’t be participating in this year’s Dauphiné due to his injuries (he’s at a training camp instead).

Roglič abandoned the Basque race immediately–despite being the race leader at the time–but he was among the less injured of the riders who went down. So, while he was forced to skip the Ardennes Classics, he remained largely on track for the Tour.

The Dauphiné will be his last stop before heading to the Grand Depart in Florence, and his performance here will go a long way toward determining whether or not he has a realistic chance of winning his first Tour de France. And his BORA-hansgrohe team is stacked, with basically all the riders we expect to support the Slovenian at the Tour joining him at the start, including Australia’s Jai Hindley, who won a stage and spent a day in the yellow jersey in last year’s Tour de France–and won the 2022 Giro d’Italia.

Remco Evenepoel (Soudal–Quick-Step)

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THOMAS SAMSON - Getty Images


Evenepoel was another victim of the Basque crash that took down Vingegaard and Roglič–the Belgian broke his right clavicle and scapula. That wiped out the rest of his spring program, but now he’s healed and back on his bike–and reports say that his training is going well. Like most competitors, the Dauphiné will be the Belgian’s last test before the Tour. He’s likely targeting the time trial–he’s the reigning world champion in the discipline–but we’re more eager to see how he fares against the other contenders on the summit finishes at the end of Stages 6, 7, and 8. We’re also curious to see how his team–which has traditionally been built more for one-day classics–handles itself against proven stage race squads like BORA, Visma, and INEOS.

Carlos Rodríguez (INEOS Grenadiers)

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Tim de Waele - Getty Images

Rodríguez finished ninth overall and won the white jersey as the Best Young Rider in last year’s Dauphiné, an impressive ride that perhaps should have been more hyped (blame jumbo-Visma’s dominance for that). But his performance turned out to be a sneak preview of what the Spaniard would do at the Tour, where he finished fifth overall and won a stage in the mountains.

Just 23 years old, Rodríguez has continued to improve throughout the spring: he finished second at Itzulia Basque Country and then won the Tour de Romandie, his first WorldTour stage race victory. Assuming he’s saving his best for the Tour, we’re expecting another top-10–possibly top-5–finish at the Dauphiné, which would make him a true podium contender in July.

Sepp Kuss (Visma–Lease a Bike)

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Tim de Waele - Getty Images

With Vingegaard uncertain about riding the Tour de France following his crash, Kuss might end up being Visma’s GC captain, a stunning turn of events for a rider who spent much of last season as a support rider–at least until he took a surprise win at the Vuelta a España in September.

The American has had a quiet season so far, racing just a handful of times and spending the majority of his time at training camps. In fact, the Dauphiné will be the first time raced since the Itzulia Basque Country in early April. His performance will give us at least a hint as to whether or not he has the legs to be a true podium contender at the Tour.

Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates)

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Tim de Waele - Getty Images

Ayuso joins Rodríguez at the forefront of a new generation of young, Spanish grand tour contenders. Just 21 years old, he already has two top-5 finishes at the Vuelta a España, including a third-place finish in 2022. Like Rodríguez, he seems to get better with every race he enters–he took second at Tirreno-Adriatico and fifth at the Tour of Romandie. And like Rodríguez, the Spaniard also won his first WorldTour stage this spring–the Tour of the Basque Country. And while he’s heading to the Tour to support Slovenia’s Tadej Pogačar, we’re expecting him to be racing for himself at the Dauphiné–which could be bad news for the race’s other contenders.

Matteo Jorgenson (Visma–Lease a Bike)

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THOMAS SAMSON - Getty Images

If an American does win this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné, don’t be surprised if it’s Jorgenson, a 24-year-old who was born in Walnut Creek, California but grew up in Boise, Idaho. After spending the first few seasons of his WorldTour career with Movistar, Jorgenson transferred to Visma-Lease a Bike this past off-season and has since taken a major step forward, winning his first WorldTour stage race–Paris-Nice-and his first major one-day Classic–Dwars door Vlaanderen.

His last event was the Amstel Gold Race in mid-April, and he’s spent the past six weeks training for the Tour de France. And with Kuss likely biding his time for the Tour de France, there’s a good chance that he’ll be given the chance to try and win the Dauphiné before taking on more of a supporting role at the Tour. Visma has only scratched the surface of Jorgenson's potential, and this could be the race in which he takes another big step forward in his development as a rider.

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