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Mar 16, 2015 – The route and a preliminary entry list for the 84th edition of the Critérium International, the 6th to be held in southern Corsica, were presented today in Porto-Vecchio, by Mayor Georges Mela and race organizer François Lemarchand.
Defending champion, Jean-Christophe Péraud, will be one of the main favourites for the win on the three-stage race this coming 28 and 29 March. But the runner-up on the 2014 Tour de France will face stiff competition, led by Thibaut Pinot, who joined him on the podium in Paris last July.
Since 2010, a strong field of riders and teams will make its way to Porto-Vecchio in late March to celebrate the start of spring season. The varied topography of Corsica offers a terrain perfectly adapted to the Critérium International, an intense stage race, which calls upon multiple qualities.
This geography has proven itself in sporting terms over the past five editions. Two winners of the Tour de France, Christopher Froome and Cadel Evans, have won on Corsica’s roads, while last year’s winner, Jean-Christophe Péraud (AG2R-La Mondiale), brilliantly capitalized on his triumph in finishing second on the Tour last July. At ease on the time trial and an excellent climber, the runner-up to Vincenzo Nibali on the 2014 Tour de France presents the ideal profile for a repeat performance. But he will have to battle with Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), who finished just 38 seconds behind on the Champs-Elysées and who could make the most of the three-stage race to claim, at the age of 24, his first overall victory in a stage race.
The two French heroes from last year’s Tour de France will not be the only riders heading to Corsica with high ambitions. The Trek Factory Racing team will land on the island with four credible candidates for the overall win, including winner of the 2011 edition, Franck Schleck, who will have the support of Bauke Mollema, Bob Jungels and Julian Arredondo.
Victorious on the Ospédale stage last year and second to Péraud overall, Switzerland’s Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) too has the profile to contend for a spot one place higher on the podium this year. Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne-Séché) will also be one to watch. The Argentinean finished fifth last year and recently won the Classic Sud Ardèche and will be able to rely on the experience of his road captain, Pierrick Fédrigo, laureate of the race in 2010 and two-time winner of theOspédale stage (2010 and 2012)
16 teams: the primary entrants (16 March)
–Bora – Argon 18: Konrad (Aut)
–Team Giant – Alpecin: Ji (Chn), Van der Haar, Veelers (Ned)
–Cult Energy Pro Cycling: Gerdemann (Ger), Larsson (Swe), Wegmann (Ger)
–Team Cannondale – Garmin: Formolo, Moser (Ita), Navardauskas (Ltu)
–Trek Factory Racing: Arredondo (Col), Felline (Ita), Jungels (Lux), Mollema (Ned), F. Schleck(Lux)
–UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team: Brajkovic (Slo), Ratto (Ita)
–AG2R La Mondiale: Bakelants (Bel), Péraud, Vuillermoz (Fra)
–Auber 93: Dassonville (Fra)
–Bretagne – Séché Environnement: Fedrigo, B. Feillu (Fra), Sepulveda (Arg)
–Cofidis Solutions Crédits: Chainel, Edet (Fra)
–FDJ.fr: Jeannesson, Pinot, Roy (Fra)
Team Europcar: Arashiro (Jpn)
Team Marseille 13 KTM: Di Gregorio, El Fares (Fra)
–Team Roompot: De Maar, Kreder (Ned)
–Tinkoff – Saxo: C.A. Sorensen (Den), Zaugg (Sui)
–IAM Cycling: Frank (Sui), Pelucchi (Ita)
The 2015 Critérium International stages
28/03 (Morning). Stage 1: Porto-Vecchio – Porto-Vecchio, 92.5 km
28/03 (Afternoon). Stage 2: Porto-Vecchio – Porto-Vecchio (time trial), 7 km
29/03. Stage 3: Porto-Vecchio – Col de l’Ospédale, 189.5 km