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"This result validates my progress against the clock even if I have further progress to make in the technical parts. I'm in a strong position for tomorrow.  My opponents will have to take the initiative. "

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AG2R CITROEN TEAM

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BORA-HANSGROHE

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CALEB FAIRLY

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CRITÉRIUM INTERNATIONAL

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FABIAN WEGMANN

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GROUPAMA-FDJ

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IAM CYCLING

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JEAN-CHRISTOPHE PÉRAUD

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JEROME COPPEL

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MATTHIAS BRÄNDLE

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NATURA4EVER ROUBAIX LILLE METROPOLE

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ONE PRO CYCLING

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RASMUS QUAADE

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SAM BENNETT

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STÖLTING SERVICE GROUP

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THIBAUT PINOT

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26.03.2016 @ 23:11 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) had won the morning stage, Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) again confirmed that the time trial is now an asset for him as took the first TT win of his career on stage 2 of Criterium International. The Frenchman stopped the clock in 9.11 on the 7km course to beat Jerome Coppel (IAM) by two seconds, with Alexandre Geniez completing a great day for FDJ by taking third as one of 7 riders from the team in the top 18! Pinot also takes the overall lead.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Thibaut Pinot after first TT win: This validates my progress

”I wanted to make the best time,” Pinot told L’Equipe. “I did it and I won. I beat the favorites.There were two, three quite technical corners where I was forced to take risks to win. This result validates my progress against the clock even if I have further progress to make in the technical parts. I'm in a strong position for tomorrow.  My opponents will have to take the initiative. "

 

Sam Bennett: It’s brilliant to have the first win under the belt

Sam Bennett took the first stage of the Critérium International in a sprint finish. After 90,5 kilometres around Porto-Vecchio, the BORA – ARGON 18 sprinter was the fastest man on the line.

 

From the beginning of the stage, BORA – ARGON 18 was always in control of the race. The peloton did not allow the breakaway to build much of a lead, and the final was very well prepared from BORA – ARGON 18. Today’s birthday kid - Paul Voss - was the last man to lead-out for Bennett who could launch his sprint from a perfect position and took a confident win.

 

In the second stage, Sam Bennett again was the fastest BORA – ARGON 18 rider in 15th place 0:22 behind the winner. This puts him in 9th place in the overall classification after day one in Corsica. Also Patrick Konrad did a strong performance in the TT. The young Austrian was just 1 second slower than Bennett and is now 18th in the GC which puts him in a strong position for tomorrow’s mountain stage. 

 

“We had a long discussion yesterday about how to organise the final kilometres. We knew that we could not start to lead-out too early, because there was a little descent in the last kilometre and it is very easy to overtake there out of the slipstream. Our goal was to have 3 guys with Sam after the last corner, and that worked our perfectly. Sam was in a perfect position and took a confident win in the end. This win is a real team victory. All riders did their job 100% perfect. But it is also a reward for the mechanics, physios, etc. who all worked very hard the last weeks,” sports director Christian Pömer said.

 

“We had a really good meeting yesterday and everybody knew exactly what to do. The guys were committed 100% and everyone did a tremendous job! There was a crash with 15k to go and I was at the back of the peloton afterwards, but the team stayed together and brought me back up without panic. In the last little decent we made our move and hit the front, after the last corner I still had 3 guys for the lead-out. I launched my sprint pretty early with 250m to go slightly uphill, but I felt I had to make my move because the whole team prepared everything so well. I felt that I opened a little gap and I could hold it to the line. It is brilliant to now have the first win under the belt. This is a reward for everyone in the team,” said Bennett

 

Jerome Coppel and Matthias Brändle with mixed emotions after time trial in Corsica

“This second place is not bad,” Jérôme Coppel declared, especially after he had to abandon Paris-Nice early in the race due to illness.  “I felt good today, and was only narrowly beaten at the end.  That’s sport.  It will be important to keep an eye on FDJ, which will certainly ride strongly in order to defend Pinot’s lead for tomorrow.  I will do my best and see how far I can take it in the end.”

 

“With two riders in the top ten, we can certainly be satisfied with our day out.  However, I’m not 100% happy because of course our goal was to win the stage today,” Mario Chiesa, the team’s directeur sportif said after the second stage of the Critérium International.  “Thibault Pinot, however, was very strong, and beat Jérôme Coppel back into second place by just two seconds.  Tomorrow the most difficult stage follows, and Pinot will have a very strong team with FDJ at his back. Coppel is certainly in good shape, and we will do our best to fit into the top-5 comfortably with him.”

 

“I am generally satisfied with my performance,” explains Matthias Brändle.  “Similarly to my form in Paris-Nice, I am close, but again not close enough to be at the front.  Unfortunately, I am still lacking a little something.  But I am working hard, and I can see that I am getting closer and closer.  I will certainly hope to be in my top form in time for my first big goal of the season which will be the Giro d'Italia.”

 

Rudy Barbier eyes pro contract after second place in Corsica

After his victories in Paris-Troyes and Cholet-Pays de Loire , Rudy Barbier was second in the morning stage. 

 

"I have no regrets,” he told L’Equipe. “I took the good wheel and I was beaten by one who was stronger than me. “2 kilometers from the finish, I followed the Bora train, hoping they had not started too early. They were strong. In two weekends I have won, I am confiden. I am  23, I hope to attract the eye of the big teams.”

 

Jean-Christophe Peraud: My TT was better than it was two years ago

Defending champion Jean-Christophe Peraud was fifth in the time trial.

 

"I arrived in Corsica without much . I can be satisfied with this time trial, it's nice! I'm up there. I improved my 2014 time by two seconds. Now the data are clear. To hope to win a third Critérium International at the top of the Ospedale, I must win the stage. Anyway, I'm going to start with the desire to fight, I have nothing to lose,” he said.

 

Caleb Fairly tests his sprinting legs in Corsica

Caleb Fairly, Team Giant-Alpecin’s first finisher, came over the line in 17th, on the same time as the stage winner in the morning stage

 

The race also saw a return to action for Chad Haga following his recovery from the training camp accident earlier this season. He successfully finished 70th.

 

Coach Arthur van Dongen: “It was a fast stage with the expected bunch sprint. It was good teamwork for Caleb Fairly by Carter Jones. The other riders saved energy for the ITT.”

 

Excellent time trial confirms potential of Giant-Alpecin talent

At the end of the 7km long time trial in Corsica, France, it was the 20 year old Oomen who was Team Giant-Alpecin’s fastest finisher, coming in 10 seconds down on stage winner Thibaut Pinot (FDJ). As a result of this effort, and this morning’s stage finishing in a bunch sprint, Oomen received the white jersey as the leader of the young rider’s classification. Fredrik Ludvigsson finished 22nd at 25 seconds of the winner.

 

Tomorrow the final stage of the Critérium International will point out who will be the winner of this edition. With Oomen 10 seconds behind leader Pinot, there are chances for the general classification for the young rider.

 

Sam Oomen said: “I’m very happy with this performance. It went as I hoped, from the start I was able to push very well and rode a stable TT. I’m super happy with the 7th place and the white jersey. Tomorrow will be a very difficult stage with uphill finish. We will see to what extent we can defend the jersey and my position in the GC, but the competition will be fierce.”

 

Chad Haga said: “I’m very happy to be back in the peloton and the feeling today was very good.”

 

Coach Arthur van Dongen said: “We can be very satisfied with two young guys in the top 20 overall and one of them wearing the youth jersey. It’s a nice success for Sam at his age in the competitive field we have here.”

 

Mixed start for Stölting in Criterium International

Team Stölting Service Group achieved an 8th place in the sprint on the 90.5 km stage 1 of the Critérium International (2.HC). The 7 km individual time trial in the afternoon was a bit on the short side for the time trial specialists.

 

Stage 1 was a short race:  Fabian Wegmann finished 8th and Christian Mager was 11th. This good performance resulted in the team winning the team classification of stage 1.

 

The riders had a break after the morning stage before getting on their time trial bikes. Both Lennard Kämna and Rasmus Quaade are specialists, but both like longer time trials more than the short and technical 7 km parcours in Porto-Vecchio. The German beat the Dane by less than a second, both finished 39 seconds behind the winner Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) who also took the overall lead.

 

Marcin Bialoblocki drops his chain in Criterium International time trial

In the morning stage, ONE Pro Cycling started to organise and position themselves on the approach to the Cote de Sotta, the one and only mountain classification on the stage. Positioning at this point on the stage was crucial as the decent off the mountain wasn’t only steep but narrow and winding, causing the peloton to string out into one long line. With only 15km to go from the bottom of the descent the pressure never eased as the frantic chase to catch the breakaway started in earnest.

 

3km remaining and the breakaway still held a gap of 30 seconds, while the ONE Pro lead out train was looking after the interest of Dion Smith. Steele Von Hoff and James Oram worked hard to deliver him to the line but rounding the left hand bend with 1km to go Smith lost the wheel of Von Hoff becoming swamped in the rush to the line which saw the breakaway caught with 200m to go. Caught up in the sprint for the finish Dion Smith claiming 15th  while Steele Von Hoff finished closely behind in 18th position.

 

Following the 90km road race which took place in the morning, riders had a few hours to rest, recover and refuel before embarking on Stage Two which would consist of a 7km Individual Time Trial in the afternoon.

 

First up for ONE Pro Cycling was Matt Goss out on his new Factor TT bike for the first time, the rest of the team were off throughout the afternoon at intervals determined by the General Classification. Polish National Champion Marcin Bialoblocki dropped his chain at the bottom of the descent leading to a bike change and seeing him finishing the stage on his road bike which affected his overall time during on the day.

 

Producing the ride of the day was James Oram who zipped around the course to finish in 26th position overall in a time of 9 minutes 37 seconds.

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