Critérium International toughens up mountainous first stage
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Critérium International toughens up mountainous first stage

by Ben Atkins at 4:23 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Critérium International
 
Kilometres and climbs added over 2010 route

pierrick fedrigoThe opening stage of this weekend’s Critérium International will be even tougher this year as race organiser ASO has added almost 25km, and two more climbs, to its length. The stage between Porto-Vecchio and the top of the Col de l’Ospedale will now feature a total of seven categorised climbs in 198km.

“Our first intention was to extend this stage”, explained Laurent Bezault, the event’s sporting manager. “In comparison to last year, we’ve added almost 25 kilometres. The race will be attritional right from the start on Saturday”

The new course heads further north than in 2010, missing out the Viggianello and the Col de Mela; instead it will tackle the Côte d'Orasi, Col de Celaccia, Col de Saint-Eustache and Côte d'Aullène in addition to the opening Côte de Roccapina, and the Col de Bacinu on the way to the finish on the Col de l'Ospedale.

“The island’s relief dictated these changes,” said Bezault, “because by heading further northwards, we came across tougher routes. The climbs of the Col de Celaccia and Col de Saint-Eustache both account for around 10 kilometres of climbing.

“It’s therefore an invitation to attack, so the most offensive riders won’t have to wait until the Col de l’Ospedale to get stuck in”

2010 winner Pierrick Fédrigo (then of Bbox Bouygues Telecom, now at FDJ) took the race off the back of his solo victory on the Col d’Ospedale stage.

Porto-Vecchio to Col d’Ospedale climbs:
Km 36.0 - Côte de Roccapina - 3.0km @ 3.8 %
Km 46.0 - Côte d'Orasi - 3.4km @ 5.8 %
Km 82.0 - Col de Celaccia - 9.5km @ 5.8 %
Km 102.0 - Col de Saint-Eustache - 11.0km @ 5.4 %
Km 114.0 - Côte d'Aullène - 3.1km @ 4.2 %
Km 156.0 - Col de Bacinu - 10.0km @ 4.5 %
Km 198.0 - Col de l'Ospedale - 14.3km @ 6.2 %

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