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55th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré - 2.HC

France, June 8-15, 2003

2002 Results     Preview    Course Description    Stages and results     Start list    Past winners

Armstrong faces last challenge before Tour

By Jeff Jones

Click for larger image
Armsmtrong in the 2002 edition
Photo: © AFP

The 55th edition of the Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré (June 8-15) will mark Lance Armstrong's final race before the Tour de France this year, where he is going for a record equalling five straight wins. Should he ride into Paris in yellow on July 27, he will join the likes of Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx and Miguel Indurain as the only rider to have won the race five times.

Armstrong has raced a lighter schedule this season, and has spent time in May training over the Tour's key stages. The Dauphiné Libéré will provide him with eight days of tough racing in and around the French Alps, including a 33.4 km individual time trial on Stage 3 and a difficult sixth stage between Challes les Eaux and Briançon that includes the notorious Col du Telegraph/Col du Galibier combination.

Armstrong won the Dauphiné last year and went on to dominate the Tour de France, his prowess in the mountains clearly a level above that of his rivals. In this year's Dauphiné he will face competition in the form of Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole), winner in 2001 and also winner of the Four Days of Dunkirk this year. Another rival for Armstrong will be Tyler Hamilton (CSC), who had a very good spring, winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Romandy, among other good placings. Another Tour of Romandy performer Laurent Dufaux (Alessio) will line up in the Dauphiné on Sunday.

The remainder of the field is quite strong, including David Millar and David Moncoutié (Cofidis), Sylvain Chavanel (Brioches la Boulangère), Richard Virenque (Quick.Step-Davitamon), Francisco Mancebo (iBanesto), Baden Cooke, Brad McGee and Nicolas Vogondy (FDJeux.com), Michael Boogerd and Levi Leipheimer (Rabobank), Laurent Brochard (Ag2r), Iban Mayo (Euskaltel), Miguel Martinez (Phonak), and Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour).

Course Description

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The eight days of racing will take the riders in a clockwise direction around the Rhone Alps region of France. Starting with the prologue in the ski resort of Villard-de-Lans, the riders will climb to Le Balcon de Villard (2.1 km climb at 7%) on the slopes of the Vercors mountains.

The first stage will take the riders south from the Vercors and into Provence to finish in Vaison-la-Romaine, a town famous for its wine. Stage two takes the riders north to Vienne, a small town south-east of Lyon and famous for the Vienne Jazz Festival that is held every summer. The riders transfer to the rolling hills of the Loire, north of St Etienne, for the 33 kilometre individual time trial on the picturesque roads between Saint-Paul-en-Jarez and Saint-Héand. The time-trial course has a low point of 320 metres, climbing to 780 metres at the Côte de Valfleury after 13 kilometres.

Stage four is the longest of the race, with 237 kilometres between Vienne and the pretty ski resort of Morzine, and the first day in the mountains. The route will include the Col de la Ramaz, the 1613 metre Col that will be used as the deciding climb on stage seven of this year's Tour de France.

The route of stage five undulates over a number of lower category climbs on the edge of the Alps before the 500 metres of vertical climbing to the Tunnel du Granier and the final 10 kilometres of descending into Chambery for the stage finish.

The high mountains return on stage six, when the race will climb the 1570 metre Col du Telegraphe before the steeper gradients of the 2646 metre Col du Galibier. The riders will not climb over the Col du Galibier, but instead pass through the tunnel which is slightly lower at 2556 metres. The riders then have a long descent to the stage finish in Briançon, one of the highest towns in Europe.

On the final day, stage seven, the riders will climb the 2067 metre Col du Lautaret before descending toward Grenoble and onto two climbs in the Chartreuse mountains. The 1434 metre Col du Coq is 12 kilometres at nine percent before a very technical descent to then join the easier gradients of the 1326 metre Col du Porte and a 15 kilometre descent to the finish in Grenoble.

Past winners

Year  First                      Second                     Third
2002  Lance Armstrong (USA)      Floyd Landis (USA)         Christophe Moreau (Fra)
2001  Christophe Moreau (Fra)    Pavel Tonkov (Rus)         Benoit Salmon (Fra)
2000  Tyler Hamilton (USA)       Haimar Zubeldia (Spa)      Lance Armstrong (USA)
1999  Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Jonathan Vaughters (USA)   Wladimir Belli (Ita)
1998  Armand De las Cuevas (Fra) Miguel Angel Pena (Spa)    Andrei Teteriouk (Kaz)
1997  Udo Bolts (Ger)            Abraham Olano (Spa)        Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra)
1996  Miguel Indurain (Spa)      Tony Rominger (Swi)        Richard Virenque (Fra)
1995  Miguel Indurain (Spa)      Chris Boardman (GB)        Vicente Aparicio (Spa)
1994  Laurent Dufaux (Swi)       Ronan Pensec (Fra)         Arturis Kasputis (Lit)
1993  Laurent Dufaux (Swi)       Olivier Rincom (Col)       Franck Bouyer (Fra)
1992  Charly Mottet (Fra)        Luc Leblanc (Fra)          Gianni Bugno (Ita)
1991  Luis Herrera (Col)         Ludino Cubino (Spa)        Tony Rominger (Swi)
1990  Robert Millar (Sco)        Thierry Clavyrolet (Fra)   Alviro Mejia (Col)
1989  Charly Mottet (Fra)        Robert Miller (Sco)        Thierry Clavyrolet (Fra)
1988  Luis Herrera (Col)         Niki Ruttiman (Swi)        Charly Mottet (Fra)
1987  Charly Mottet (Fra)        Henry Cardenas (Col)       Ronan Pensec (Fra)
1986  Urs Zimmermann (Swi)       Ronan Pensec (Fra)         Joop Zoetemelk (Ned)
1985  Phil Anderson (Aus)        Steven Rooks (Ned)         Pierre Bazzo (Fra)
1984  Martin Ramirez (Col)       Bernard Hinault (Fra)      Greg Lemond (USA)
1983  Greg Lemond (USA) *        Robert Millar (Sco)        Robert Alban (Fra)
1982  Michel Laurent (Fra)       Jean-René Bernaudeau (Fra) Pascal Simon (Fra)
1981  Bernard Hinault (Fra)      Joaquim Agostinho (Por)    Greg Lemond (USA)
1980  Johan Van de Velde (Ned)   Raymond Martin (Fra)       Joaquim Agostinho (Por)
1979  Bernard Hinault (Fra)      Henk Lubberding (Ned)      Francisco Galdos (Spa)
1978  Michel Pollentier (Bel)    Mariano Martinez (Fra)     Francisco Galdos (Spa)
1977  Bernard Hinault (Fra)      Bernard Thévenet (Fra)     Lucien Van Impe (Bel)
1976  Bernard Thévenet (Fra)     Vicente Lopez-Carril (Spa) Raymond Delisle (Fra)
1975  Bernard Thévenet (Fra)     Francisco Moser (Ita)      Joop Zoetemelk (Ned)
1974  Alain Santy (Fra)          Raymond Poulidor (Fra)     Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (Fra
1973  Luis Ocaña (Spa)           Bernard Thévenet (Fra)     Joop Zoetemelk (Ned)
1972  Luis Ocaña (Spa)           Bernard Thévenet (Fra)     Lucien Van Impe (Bel)
1971  Eddy Merckx (Bel)          Luis Ocaña (Spa)           Bernard Thévenet (Fra)
1969  Raymond Poulidor (Fra)     Ferdi Bracke (Bel)         Roger Pingeon (Fra)
1966  Raymond Poulidor (Fra)     Carlos Echeverria (Spa)    Francisco Gabicia (Spa)
1965  Jacques Anquetil (Fra)     Raymond Poulidor (Fra)     Karl-Heinz Kunde (Ger)
1964  Valentin Uriona (Spa)      Raymond Poulidor (Fra)     Esteban Martin (Spa)
1963  Jacques Anquetil (Fra)     José Perez-Francés (Spa)   Fernando Manzaneque (Spa)
1962  Raymond Mastrotto (Fra)    Hans Junkerman (Ger)       Raymond Poulidor (Fra)
1961  Brian Robinson (GB)        Raymond Mastrotto (Fra)    François Mahé (Fra)
1960  Jean Dotto (Fra)           Raymond Mastrotto (Fra)    Gérard Thielin (Fra)
1959  Henry Anglade (Fra)        Raymond Mastrotto (Fra)    Gaston Riviere (Fra)
1958  Louis Rostollan (Fra)      François Pipelin (Fra)     Jean-Pierre Schmitz (Lux)
1957  Marcel Rohrbach (Fra)      René Privat (Fra)          Jean-Pierre Schmitz (Lux)
1956  Alex Closs (Fra)           Antonin Rolland (Fra)      Fernand Picot (Fra)
1955  Louison Bobet (Fra)        Roger Walkowiak (Fra)      Marcel De Mulder (Bel)
1954  Nello Lauredi (Fra)        Jean-Pierre Schmitz (Lux)  Pierre Molineris (Fra)
1953  Lucien Teissiere (Fra)     Charly Gaul (Lux)          Jean Robic (Fra)
1952  Jean Dotto (Fra)           Nello Lauredi (Fra)        Jean Le Guilly (Fra)
1951  Nello Lauredi (Fra)        Antonin Rolland (Fra)      Lucien Lazarides (Fra)
1950  Nello Lauredi (Fra)        Apo Lazarides (Fra)        Jean Diederich (Lux)
1949  Lucien Lazarides (Fra)     Jean Robic (Fra)           Fermo Camelini (Ita)
1948  Edouard Fachleitner (Fra)  Paul Giguet (Fra)          Jean Robic (Fra)
1947  Edouard Klabinski (Pol)    Gino Sciardos (Ita)        Fermo Camelini (Ita)

* Pascal Simon (Fra) was first but later disqualified for doping 

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