• Criterium du Dauphine 2021 route map (ASO)Source: ASO
The Criterium du Dauphine organisers have released the route and also named the wildcards for this year's traditional warm-up to the Tour de France.
By
SBS Cycling Central

22 Feb 2021 - 10:55 PM 

The course of the 2021 Critérium du Dauphiné 2021, consisting of eight stages and running from 30 May to 6 June, was unveiled at the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Regional Council building in Lyon this morning.

Following the start in Issoire with a loop stage on a dynamic circuit, the organisers have cooked up a tough course and brought back the Wednesday time trial to make it more of an all-round test than one just for the climbers. 

A gruelling Alpine trilogy with finishes in Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse and the ski resorts of La Plagne and Les Gets will still decide the race among the stars of the peloton, with the top names hunting for wins or at least a good result in the Dauphiné to boost their confidence ahead of the Tour de France.

Pinot falls short as unheralded Martinez takes Dauphine win
As the race came closer and closer to the finale and a last-ditch attempt by Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) came up short, it became clear that Daniel Martinez (EF Education First) would take his maiden WorldTour stage race win.
Dauphiné blown apart on final stage as Martinez takes overall
The final stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné saw thrills aplenty as the general classification candidates went all out for victory in a final bid for overall honours. Daniel Martinez (EF Education First) made the most of a late move to secure overall victory.

The 2021 course has been designed to gradually turn up the heat on the peloton in a trek from the Central Massif to the Alps.

The rubber will hit the road in the inaugural stage starting and ending in Issoire, where sprinters will have their work cut out for them to stay in contention until the finish. It will be more of the same two days later in Saint-Haon-le-Vieux, where the 800 m home straight tilts upwards and could favour the puncheurs.

At 16.5 kilometres, the time trial from Firminy to Roche-la-Molière will be just long enough to shake things up a bit but, at the same time, short enough to keep the pure climbers in contention. 

After four stages run mostly in Auvergne and a plunge to the Rhône Valley that could force a selection among the punchers for the showdown in Saint-Vallier, the peloton will head to the Alpine peaks, where the mountain warriors will hog the limelight from the stage to Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse, featuring the Col de Porte.

This will be just an appetiser, as the next day will see the Dauphiné discover the La Plagne ski resort, coming after a 17-kilometre ascent with an average gradient of 7.5 per cent and with the riders' legs already softened up by the Col de Pré and the Cormet de Roselend.

 

On Sunday, the 145 km grand finale will serve up a succession of climbs ready for use as a launch pad for an epic adventure: the roads up the Col des Aravis, Col de la Colombière, Côte de Châtillon and, especially, Col de Joux Plane, are the perfect terrain to go on the offensive, as is the plunge to Morzine, where the top descenders in the peloton will come out to play. The ascent to Les Gets will wrap up this climbing-fest.

The final stage has been the scene of significant drama in the past, with Dani Martinez's last stage coup in 2020 just one of many race-flipping events in recent years.

Dauphine organisers also announced the wildcards for this year's race, a pair of French teams, B&B Hotels and Team Arkéa – Samsic.  

Critérium du Dauphiné 2021 stages

Sunday, May 30th – Stage 1 - Issoire > Issoire, 182 km

Monday, May 31st – Stage 2 - Brioude > Saugues, 173 km

Tuesday, June 1st – Stage 3 - Langeac > Saint-Haon-Le-Vieux, 172 km

Wednesday, June 2nd – Stage 4 - Firminy > Roche-La-Molière, 16,5 km (individual time trial)

Thursday, June 3rd – Stage 5 - Saint-Chamond > Saint-Vallier, 175,5 km

Friday, June 4th – Stage 6 - Loriol-sur-Drôme > Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse, 168 km

Saturday, June 5th – Stage 7 - Saint-Martin-Le-Vinoux > La Plagne, 171,5 km

Sunday, June 6th – Stage 8 - La Léchère-les-Bains > Les Gets 147 km