J.-P. Nazon Wins Stage 1 of Criterium International
Jean-Patrick Nazon (Ag2r-Prevoyance) has won Stage 1 of the Criterium International. The French sprinter won the flat, 190.5-km ride from Rethel to Charleville-Mezieres in 4:58:15. Markus Zberg (Gerolsteiner) finished second, and Zberg's teammate Peter Wrolich took third.
Guillaume Auger (RAGT-Semences-MG Rover) made the break of the day. He vaulted away from the peloton at 25 km and built a 19:30 lead before Lotto-Domo, Credit Agricole, and La Francaise des Jeux.com began to chase.
On the day's final climb, the Cote de Barbe-en-Croc, Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r-Prevoyance) and Rafael Diaz (Liberty Seguros) bridged up to Auger, whose lead over the peloton was down to a minute. On the descent, the pair caught and dropped Auger and attempted to stay away. The peloton, however, was led by La Francaise des Jeux.com and Quick Step-Davitamon; it caught the escapees in the closing km.
In the sprint, Nazon's teammate Mark Scanlon led him out, and the Frenchman relegated Zberg and Wrolich to second and third, respectively. The Criterium International has been Nazon's race. For that matter, it has been the Nazon family's event. Jean-Patrick won the first stage of the 2002 edition of the event while riding for La Francaise des Jeux.com. His brother Damien won the first stage of last year's Criterium International.
In the overall, Nazon leads Zberg by 0:04 and Wrolich by 0:06. Tomorrow's events will be the race's deciding ones. In the morning, Stage 2, a 98.5-km run from Les Vieilles Forges to Montherme, will feature seven climbs. Stage 3, the afternoon stage, will be an 8.3-km time trial in Charleville-Mezieres. Who will prevail? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!