Casper Wins Stage 1 of Criterium International
Jimmy Casper (Besson Chaussures) has won the first stage of the Criterium International. The Frenchman took a bunch sprint to win the 190-km run from Monthois to Charleville-Mezieres in 4:42:15. Yauheni Hutarovich (Francaise des Jeux) finished second, and Cyril Lemoine (Skil) took third.
At 15 km, the break of the day occurred. Christophe Kern (Cofidis), Arnaud Coyot (Caisse d'Epargne), Timothy Duggan (Garmin), and David Le Lay (Agritubel) sallied off of the front. The quartet forged a 9:35 lead before the peloton started chasing.
Saxo Bank led the pursuit. Gradually, the Danish squad ground away the escapees' lead. With 10 km left, the bunch reeled in the last of the fugitives.
The bunch battled for position in the sprint. Besson Chaussures delivered Casper to the front, and Casper powered away from the field for the win.
In the overall, Casper leads Arnaud Coyot (Caisse d'Epargne) by 0:02 and Hutarovich by 0:04. Tomorrow, Casper will lose his race lead after the mountain stage, the first of the day's two stages. Who will the new leader be? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!