Froome Wins Stage 3 of Criterium International; Takes Overall
Chris Froome (Sky) has won Stage 3 of the Criterium International. The Briton powered up the Col de l'Ospedale to win the hilly, 176-km ride from Porto Vecchio to Col de l'Ospedale in 4:43:38.
Froome's teammate Richie Porte finished second at 0:30, and Bauke Mollema (Blanco) arrived at the finish line 0:15 after Porte to take third. Froome's win gave him the overall victory.
Rain, wind, and cool temperatures greeted the riders at the start. At 13 km, Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Leopard) attempted a getaway, but he was reeled in quickly. Seven km later, Florian Vachon (Bretagne-Seche Environnement) attacked and Jeremy Roy (Francaise des Jeux), Edwig Cammaerts (Cofidis), Paul Poix (Sojasun), Yann Huguet (Argos-Shimano), Jose Goncalves (Le Pomme Marseille), and Laurent Didier (RadioShack-Leopard) joined him. At 45 km, the break led the bunch by 4:30.
Sky led the pursuit. By the summit of the Col de Viggianello (93.5 km), the break's lead was under one minute.
Five riders bridged up to the move. Among them were Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Leopard) and Thomas Voeckler (Europcar). Attrition took its toll, and at the top of the Col de Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano only Mathias Frank (BMC), Francis Mourey (Francaise des Jeux), and Voeckler remained in the lead.
Sky drove the peloton up the Col de Bacinu. The break was reeled in. On the final climb, defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC) was dropped. With eight km left, Johan Tschopp (IAM Cycling) attacked, but Froome collared the Swiss rider. With 5.5 km remaining, the Sky man attacked, and the stage and the race were his.
Froome said that Sky's plans to dominate the stage materialized. "The stage panned out more or less how we expected," he said. "The plan was to control the race throughout the day. It was a huge job, and we really put pressure on the other teams.
"Richie and I didn't have to make any big efforts until right at the end there. The team did that work for us and all we had to do was finish it off.
I didn't really intend to attack on the climb, but when the gap widened between myself and Richie, I felt I could go on, so I went for it."
In the overall, Froome beat Porte by 0:32 and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) by 0:54. In July, Corsica will be the scene of the start of the 2013 Tour de France, and Froome, Porte, van Garderen, and others in the Criterium International will return to the island. Will the results be the same? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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