Critérium du Dauphiné
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (January 2008)|
|English name||Dauphiné Libéré Tour|
|Local name(s)||Critérium du Dauphiné(French)|
|Competition||UCI World Tour|
|Organiser||Amaury Sport Organisation|
|Editions||64 (as of 2012)|
|First winner||Edouard Klabinski (POL)|
|Most recent||Bradley Wiggins (GBR)|
The Critérium du Dauphiné (known as the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré before 2010) is an annual cycling road race, run over eight stages in the Dauphiné region in France during the first half of June. The race was inaugurated in 1947 by a local newspaper, the Dauphiné Libéré, which gave its name to the event. For many years, organisation of the event was shared between the newspaper publishers and the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO); in 2010, the newspaper ceded all organisational responsibility to the ASO, and the race's name was abbreviated. Along with the Tour de Suisse, the Dauphiné is an important race in the lead-up to the Tour de France in July, and it is part of the UCI World Ranking calendar.
Because the Dauphiné is a mountainous area, the winners are often climbing specialists. Many climbs that are famous from the Tour de France – like the Mont Ventoux, l'Alpe d'Huez, the Col du Galibier or Col de la Chartreuse – appear often in the Dauphiné Libéré. All cyclists who have won the Tour de France five or more times have also won the Dauphiné Libéré.
The first Dauphiné Libéré was held in 1947 when Edouard Klabinski from Poland was the winner. Nello Lauredi, Luis Ocaña, Charly Mottet and Bernard Hinault share the record of the most wins, with three each.
After the Second World War, as cycling recovered from a nearly universal five- or six-year break, the newspaper Dauphiné Libéré decided to create and organize a cycling stage race through the Dauphiné region. The race is set in June, just before the Tour de France. From its beginning this race was used as preparation for the Tour de France by French cyclists, including Louison Bobet and John Robic. It has also served as a test of both advanced equipment for the cyclists and for broadcast coverage, which is stressed in the mountainous region.
The current form of the Critérium is the consequence of a merger with the Circuit of the Six-Provinces-Dauphiné in 1969.
The Critérium is the only other race that has been won by all the quintuple winners of the Tour de France (Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault, and Indurain). Eight racers have also won the Dauphiné Libéré and the Tour de France in the same year: Louison Bobet in 1955, Jacques Anquetil in 1963, Eddy Merckx in 1971, Luis Ocaña in 1973, Bernard Thévenet in 1975, Bernard Hinault in 1979 and 1981, Miguel Indurain in 1995, and Bradley Wiggins in 2012.
The cities that have hosted a start or finish most often are: Grenoble (44 times), Avignon (32 times), Saint-Étienne (23 times), Annecy (22 times), Chambéry (21 times), Gap (21 times), Lyon (19 times), Aix-les-Bains (18 times), Valence (16 times), Briançon (15 times) and Vals-les-Bains (15 times).
The leader of the general classification wears a yellow jersey with a blue band, distinct from the other racers. As early as 1948 a red jersey with white polka-dots was awarded to the climber because of the mountainous journey of the Critérium. In 1955, a green jersey was added for the best sprinter.
Victories Per Country
- "Lance Armstrong: Governing body strips American of Tour wins". BBC News. 22 October 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- "Union Cycliste Internationale".
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