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Critérium du Dauphiné
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Written by Wicky (2005-03-01 00:00)
Translated by DZI (2006-02-09 00:00:00)

The Dauphiné Libéré is often pictured as the Tour de France’s little brother. More importantly, the race through the south-east of France is seen as the perfect preparation for that same Tour de France. An ideal mix of a prologue, lots of climbing and a (climbing) time trial entices many renowned Tour riders to test their legs here.

The Dauphiné originated in 1947, on the 12th of june. Georges Cazenneuve organises a route with a total length of 967 kilometres. That route was divided into five stages, with Grenoble being the main background to the race. The winner that year, Polish rider Edouard Klabinski, instantly signifies the international character this race still has today.

The infamous Mont Ventoux gets associated with this race a lot. This isn’t entirely illogical. Seventeen times this distinguishing lunar-like landscaped mountain, which is situated at the edge of the Provence region, has been included in the race. In 1949 this really though climb is included in the route for the first time. Lately, the Mont Ventoux often provides the scene for thrilling time trialling climbs.

It is striking that all Tour de France champions that won five or more times, all have won the Dauphiné Libéré at least once also. Other Tour winners can be found on this honoured winners list too. Four cyclists managed to get three victories here. Luis Ocaña, Charly Mottet, Bernhard Hinault and the somewhat lesser well known Nello Lauredi have the record here.
The ties to the Tour de France and the Dauphiné are very tight anyway. No less than ten times the victor of this race went on to win the Tour de France later the same year.

As a matter of fact the Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré, which is the race’s official name, was also known having another name in 1969 and 1970, which was the “Circuit des Six-Provinces-Dauphiné”. After an absence of three years, the race was given a new lease of life in ’69. From 1971 the organisers adopted their former name and kept it ever since.

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