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56th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré - 2.HC

France, June 6-13, 2004

2003 Results   Photos    Past winners

Pre-Tour showdown at the Dauphiné-Libéré

By Jeff Jones and Tim Maloney

All eyes will be on southern France this week as Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton, Iban Mayo, Christophe Moreau, Ivan Basso and others do battle in the 56th Critérium du Dauphiné-Libéré, considered one of the most important pre-Tour de France tests as well as being a very prestigious race in its own right to win. It will be Armstrong's last race before the Tour, and the two-time winner of the Dauphiné will line up as the top favourite.

Mayo/Armstrong action in 2003
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

"This is a super race", said Lance Armstrong (USPS-Berry Floor), who is ready to defend his title in Megève. "I've always said it's a beautiful race and with the uphill time trial on le Mont Ventoux (Thursday), it will be a great test for me before the Tour de France. For me, after the Tour, the Dauphiné-Libéré is the best race on the calendar. The peloton isn't too big, the roads are nice, the hotels are nice and it's well organised."

Armstrong and the other 117 riders in this year's 56th running of the Criterium le Dauphiné-Libéré will test their legs Sunday in a 5.4km Prologue TT in Megeve up and down the Cote de Choseaux, where Lance, Credit Agricole's Christophe Moreau, Phonak's Ty Hamilton, World TT champ David Millar (Cofidis), CSC's Jorg Jaksche and Rabobank's Levi Leipheimer will be favorites for the Dauphine' Libere's Maillot Jaune / Bleu of race leader.

The eight day race begins on Sunday, June 6 with a 5.4 km prologue time trial Megève which includes the small Cat. 4 climb of the Cote des Choseaux at 3.1 km. Lance Armstrong, Credit Agricole's Christophe Moreau, Phonak's Tyler Hamilton, World TT champ David Millar (Cofidis), CSC's Jorg Jaksche and Rabobank's Levi Leipheimer will be favorites for the Dauphiné-Libéré's Maillot Jaune/Bleu of race leader.

The riders will then face the longest stage on Monday, June 7, as Stage 1 takes them 231 km from Megève to Bron via the Cat. 3 Col des Fleuries - certainly a stage for the sprinters. Stage 2 from Bron to Saint-Etienne (181 km) is no sprinters affair, however. After a lumpy 150 km, the riders face the Cat. 2 Col de la Croix de Chaubouret (1201m) with its summit coming at 16 km from the finish. This will be the first test for the mountain men, although there are harder stages to come.

Wednesday's third stage between Saint-Etienne and Aubenas (180 km) is slightly easier than Stage 2, but with the Cat. 2 Col de Mezilhac (1119m) coming at 36 km to go, the sprinters will have a bit of work to do to reach the finish with the front group. Stage 4 on June 10 is a key stage: a 21.5 km individual time trial from Bedoin (280m) to the top of Mont Ventoux (1909m), the feared Géant de Provence. This stage will be an important one for the classification as well as the Tour de France aspirants, who will face the Alpe d'Huez mountain time trial on July 21.

Stage 5 from Bollène to Sisteron (149 km) should be another one for the sprinters, featuring four Cat. 4 climbs including twice up the Monthée du Thor in the finishing circuits in Sisteron. Gap / Grenoble (144 km). Stage 6 starts in Gap and straight away goes up the Cat. 2 Col Bayard before descending into Chauffayer, then tackling a mountainous parcours culminating with the Cat. 1 Col du Luitel after 110 km. Two more Cat. 3 climbs are encountered in the last 34 km before the finish in Grenoble.

The final 200 km stage around Grenoble on June 13 is no sprinters romp either. After a flat first 60 km, the riders climb the Cat. 2 Col de l'Echarasson (1146m) followed by the Cat. 4 Col de Carri (1202m) and Cat. 2 Col d'Herbouilly (1374m) with its summit at km 112. Then there is a drop down into the valley before the final climbing obstacle of the Dauphiné is reached: the Cat. 1 Col de Sarcenas (1156m), a 10.5 km climb averaging 6.5%. The summit is at 15 km to go, so once again there will be a fast, downhill plunge into Grenoble to determine the winner of the 2004 Critérium du Dauphiné-Libéré.

Past winners

Year  First                      Second                     Third
2003  Lance Armstrong (USA)      Iban Mayo (Spa)            David Millar (GBr) 
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)     Francesco 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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