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Felline took his first time trial win by beating teammate Jungels by 1 second in the 7km Criterium International race against the clock; King finished 19th and defended his lead

Photo: Sirotti

BOB JUNGELS

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CRITÉRIUM INTERNATIONAL

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FABIO FELLINE

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MANUEL BOARO

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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28.03.2015 @ 18:12 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Fabio Felline (Trek) proved that he is much more than a fast finisher and solid climber when he took a surprise win in the Criterium International. The Italian beat his teammate Bob Jungels by a single second on the 7km course while Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo) was one second further back in third. Ben King (Cannondale-Garmin) did well to take 19th and defend his overall lead.

 

Going into this season, Fabio Felline had never really excelled in time trials but apparently things will change in the future for the fast Italian. After he had already taken a surprise third in the Etoile de Besseges TT, he took a hugely surprising win in the second stage of the Criterium International.

 

Felline had gone into the race targeting a win in the uphill sprint on stage 1 but he had been left disappointed this morning. After the two-rider breakaway surprisingly had stayed away, he could only manage 8th in the sprint, ending the stage in 10th.

 

Felline’s opportunities in the race seemed to be over but he bounced back in the time trial where he took a surprise win. Due to his good GC position, he was among the late starters and he took off on the 7km ride, knowing that his teammate and stage favourite Bob Jungels had taken the lead with 9.12.

 

In Besseges, Jungels had been faster than Felline but this time the roles were reversed. The more technical course suited the in-form Italian perfectly and he stopped the clock in 9.11 to go one second faster than his teammate. Earlier Manuele Boaro had briefly had the lead with 9.13 and his performance was ultimately good enough for third.

 

With mostly sprinters among the late starters, Felline only had to fear overall favourite Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) who has improved a lot in time trialling recently. The Frenchman confirmed his progress with a  great fourth place, just 6 seconds off the mark, but it was not enough to prevent Felline from taking the win.

 

Overall leader Ben King had a solid ride to finish the stage in 19th, losing 21 seconds to Felline. This means that he defended his lead and is now 24 seconds ahead of Clement Saint Martin (Marseille) while Felline has moved into third at 27 seconds.

 

However, he faces a big test tomorrow in the final stage which is also the hardest of the race. It includes 6 smaller climbs before it ends at the traditional mountaintop finish on the Col de l’Ospedale where Pinot who is only 32 seconds behind, hopes to strike.

 

A technical course

After the surprise outcome of the morning stage, the riders tackled the traditional time trial in the afternoon. The stage was held on a mostly flat 7km course in Porto-Vecchio and the riders had to tackle several technical challenges and two smaller climbs along the way.

 

The first rider down the ramp was Lucas Euser (Unitedhealthcare) and he stopped the clock in 10.45 to take the early lead. However, he was quickly relegated as time trial specialist Kristof Vandewalle (Trek) was among the early starters and he stopped the clock in 10.00.

 

Fumeaux takes the lead

Surprisingly, Swiss climber Jonathan Fumeaux (IAM) was fast with a time of 9.44 before Phil Bauhaus (Bora-Argon 18) and Fredrik Ludvigsson (Giant-Alpecin) both slotted into second with 9.55 and 9.50 respectively. Cedric Pineau (FDJ) made it onto the provisional podium with 9.50 while Chris Jones (Unitedhealthcare) had a great ride with 9.52.

 

Pirmin Lang (IAM) narrowly missed out on the top 3 with 9.51 before Maurits Lammertink (Roompot) made it into second with 9.47. However, all eyes were on Jeremy Roy (FDJ) who lived up to expectations when he stopped the clock in 9.29 to take the lead.

 

Best time for Clement

Chad Haga (Giant-Alpecin) missed out on the lead when he stopped the clock in 9.39 to take second before his teammate Thierry Hupond slotted into third with 9.40. Moments later Steve Morabito (FDJ) proved to be faster than his teammate Roy as his time of 9.27 was enough to take the lead.

 

Stef Clement (IAM) returned to his former time trialling glory when he took the lead with a time of 9.24 and he narrowly held of Pierrick Fedrigo (Bretagne) who was just 1 second slower. Yoann Paillot (Marseille) had a fine ride with 9.35 before Tom Jelte Slagter (Cannondale) made it into the top 3 with 9.27.

 

Boaro in the lead

Moreno Moser (Cannondale) could only manage 9.34 while Pierre-Luc Perichon (Bretagne) was a bit faster with 9.31. Nathan Brown continued the consistent Cannondale showing with 9.34 but it was Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne) who stole the spotlight when he went two seconds faster than Clement to take the lead.

 

One minute later Mathias Frank posted a time that was just 1 second slower before Patrick Konrad (Bora Argon 18) had a great rider with 9.28, the same time as defending champion Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r). Now Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo) was on the cause though and he was significantly faster than his rivals when he stopped the clock in 9.13.

 

Felline creates a surprise

However, he didn’t even lead the race for a single minute as Bob Jungels was the next rider on the course and he went one second faster. Ramunas Navardauskas (Cannondale) had to settle for third with 9.20.

 

Jose Mendes (Bora-Argon 18) made it into the top 10 before Julien Loubet (Marseille) had a great rider with 9.26. That was overshadowed by Felline though as the Italian took the lead just minutes later.

 

Julian Arredondo (Trek) had a surprisingly good ride with 9.32 and with mostly sprinters remaining, Felline only had to fear Thibaut Pinot. The Frenchman did well to take fourth, missing the mark by just 6 seconds. King rolled across the line in 20th to defend his lead just a few minutes leader.

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