Porte Leads Criterium International 2013
After two stages, Richie Porte (Sky) leads the Criterium International. Porte, who won Paris-Nice earlier this month, finished in the lead group in Stage 1 of the race, a flat, 89-km road race in Porto Vecchio, before continuing his winning ways by taking the seven-km individual time trial in 9:10.
In the road race, five riders escaped after 10 km. They were Yukiya Arashio (Europcar), Jeremy Roy (Francaise des Roy), Romain Hardy (Cofidis), Arnaud Gerard (Bretagne-Seche Environnement), and Antoine Lavieu (La Pomme Marseille). The quintet led the field by 3:10 at 31 km.
In the last 10 km, with the gap between bunch and break down to 0:30, Francaise des Jeux took over at the front on behalf of sprinter Nacer Bouhanni. With three km remaining, the peloton reeled in the fugitives. The stage came down to the sprint, which Theo Bos (Blanco) won.
In the time trial, Cheng Ji (Argos-Shimano) was the early leader with a 10:27. Jussi Veikkanen (Francaise des Jeux) bettered Ji's time with a 9:40, only to see Sergio Paulinho (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) post a 9:31. Jerome Coppel (Cofidis) took the lead with a 9:21, but Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) posted a new standard with a 9:17.
Tejay van Garderen (BMC) took the lead with a 9:11. For a time, his effort looked like a winner. Three-time world time trial champion Michael Rogers (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff), Olympic time trial runnerup Chris Froome (Sky), and Paris-Nice runnerup Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) could not unseat the BMC rider. Porte, however, could. The Sky man pipped van Garderen by 0:01 to win the stage. Manuele Boaro (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) raised eyebrows with his second place in the same time as van Garderen.
Porte, who won the time trial in Paris-Nice, attributed his time trial success to the work that Sky did with him. "It was quite a technical route this afternoon," he said, and not my sort of course, but I've done a lot of work with [director sportif] Dan Hunt and [performance coach] Shaun Stephens on my time trial positions, and that's definitely paid dividends.
“I have to pay credit to my mechanic Richard Lambert as well because he’s been absolutely fantastic working on my position. This win is for those guys as much as it is for me – we’re a team here at Sky, and that’s as much about the support staff as it is the riders.”
In the overall, Porte leads Boaro and van Garderen by 0:01. Tomorrow, the race will conclude with a hilly, 176-km ride from Porto Vecchio to Col de l'Ospedale. Will Porte hang on for the win? Will van Garderen make up his deficit on the climbs? Will Froome or Andrew Talansky, who are in fourth and fifth overall at 0:02 and 0:07, respectively, vault to the victory? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
Read our 2013 Criterium International preview .
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