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76th Critérium International Race Preview.
By Podofdonny
Date: 3/30/2007
76th Critérium International Race Preview.
76th Critérium International Race Preview.

3 stages, 20 teams, 11 Pro tour Teams, 159 riders, 9 climbs on stage 2, 8 kilometres of ITT, but there will only be one winner.

courtesy ASO
Looking back on Ivan Basso’s short lived 2006 season one moment endures in the memory.

It was not in the Giro d’Italia, which he completely dominated, earning him the nickname of Ivan the Terrible. Nor was it the TV shot of Ullrich talking to the press about his sudden exclusion from the Tour de France while in the background Basso slowly walked away from the race as well.

It was on a cold and windswept day in Northern France, on a long and desolate tree lined road, when Basso powered to victory in the Critérium International.

Such is the power of champions. The Grand Tours are not only won in the high mountains or the decisive time trials. But also on the hard slog and difficulties of sprinters stages, the rolling terrain of successive hills and the technical aspects of the short Time trial. An aspect which the Critérium International reflects and can be rightly called a mini Tour.

The Favourites

20 Teams of 8 riders will start the 76th édition of the Critérium International, of these 11 are Pro Tour Teams. However there is no shortage of world class riders who would like to add their names to the illustrious palmares.

Top names include - Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital), Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) , Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Franck Schleck and Jens Voigt (Team CSC), Andreas Klöden (Astana), Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom), Sandy Casar and Sébastien Joly (Française des Jeux), Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) and Pietro Caucchioli (Crédit Agricole).

Team Notes

Astana Andreas Klöden (GER) and Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ), who finished first and third respectively at the recent Tirreno-Adriatico, will both be at the start of the Critérium International. The two of them have already been able to perform there in the past, Klöden in 2003 and Vinokourov in 2001. In addition, the youngsters Julien Mazet (FRA), Alexey Kolessov (KAZ) and Yevgeny Sladkov (KAZ) will be nominated and take the occasion to learn from their experienced team-mates.

Lampre Fondital Alongside Cunego will be Bono (outstanding stage victory in Tirreno-Adriatico), Caruso, Corioni, Loosli, Stangelj and Valjavec. Martinelli and Piovani will be the sport directors, Andreazzoli will be the doctor, Inselvini, Napolitano and Pallini will be the masseurs, Borselli, Cambiè and Pengo will be the mechanics.

“With Criterium International for Cunego begins the second part of races that will take him up to Liege-Bastogne-Liege - Martinelli explained - The time trial is another test, that Damiano will face without worries but with the aim to improve his results in this speciality. I think we will see again good thing by Valjavec, great in this first part of the season”.

And a warm welcome tu Team Slipstream-Chipotle from the USA. Danny Pate will be hoping to do well in the Time Trial but the man to watch could be Huub Duyn who won the Paris Tours U23 in 2006 and is also good against the clock.

Team CSC have proud tradition in this race, with Basso, Julich and Voigt winning the last three editions. The Schleck brothers, Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt lead the CSC team which will be keen to defend its pole position in this race.

Watch out for the green and Black jerseys of Team LPR : apart from José Enrique Gutiérrez Cataluña ,El Bufalo, as he's known in Spain, they also have a hero of Milan Sanremo escapees, Roberto Traficante riding, who may well animate the first stage.

The 3 Stages

A flat stage, a hilly stage and then man against the clock will sort the men from the boys.

Stage 1 Saturday 31 March : Asfeld-Charleville-Mézières (179 km)
Stage 2 Sunday 1 April : Les Vieilles Forges-Monthermé (98,5 km)
Stage 3 Sunday 1 April : Charleville-Charleville-Mézières (8,3 km CLM)

The Parcours

Stage 1 – courtesy ASO

Stage 1 ; Asfeld > Charleville-Mézières - 179 km

A stage that should belong to the sprinters. However the smaller teams will be desperate to get a man in the break and if the contenders do not work together to keep contol the race we could have a surprise first stage winner.

Stage 2 – courtesy ASO

Stage 2 ; Les Vieilles Forges (Les Mazures) > Monthermé - 98.5 km

Into the Ardennes, and a very tough short stage, with an uphill finish that should lead to a very exciting days racing. 9 short sharp climbs will test the legs, and the winner of this stage shuld fancy his chances for this years Liege Bastogne Liege.

Stage 3 – courtesy ASO

Stage 3 ; Charleville-Mézières > Charleville-Mézières - 8.3 km

This technical 8.3km Time Trial mans that the winner of this years race, just as in the other 77 editions must be a man who has supreme control over his machine as well as the legs to stay ahead of his rivals.

Team CSC (DAN) : 1. Bobby Julich (USA), 2. Lars-Ytting Bak (DAN), 3. Juan-José Haedo (ARG), 4. Anders Lund (NOR), 5. Andy Schleck (LUX), 6. Frank Schleck (LUX), 7. Chris Sorensen (DAN), 8. Jens Voigt (ALL)
Astana (KAZ) : 11. Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ), 12. Benoît Joachim (LUX), 13. Andreas Klöden (ALL), 14. Alexey Kolessov (KAZ), 15. Julien Mazet (FRA), 16. Jose Redondo (ESP), 17. Evgeniy Sladkov (KAZ), 18. Serguei Yakovlev (KAZ)
Caisse d'Epargne (ESP) : 21. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), 22. Imanol Erviti (ESP), 23. Francisco Perez (ESP), 24. Mathieu Perget (FRA), 25. Nicolas Portal (FRA), 26. Vicente Reynes (ESP), 27. Luis-Leon Sanchez (ESP), 28. Eric Berthou (FRA)
Bouygues Telecom (FRA) : 31. Jérôme Pineau (FRA), 32. Giovanni Bernaudeau (FRA), 33. Laurent Brochard (FRA), 34. Stef Clement (PBS), 35. Pierre Drancourt (FRA), 36. Saïd Haddou (FRA), 37. Vincent Jérôme (FRA), 38. Johann Tschopp (BEL)
Lampre-Fondital (ITA) : 41. Damiano Cunego (ITA), 42. Matteo Bono (ITA), 43. Giampaolo Caruso (ITA), 44. Claudio Corioni (ITA), 45. David Loosli (SUI), 46. Gorazd Stangelj (SLO), 47. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), 48. Francisco-Javier Vila (ESP)
Landbouwkrediet-Tönnisteiner (BEL) : 51. David Verheyen (BEL), 52. Sjef De Wilde (BEL), 53. Frédéric Gabriel (FRA), 54. Steven Kleynen (BEL), 55. Kevin Neyrinck (BEL), 56. Bert Scheirlinckx (BEL), 57. Frederik Van Mechelen (BEL), 58. James Vanlandschoot (BEL)
Française des Jeux (FRA) : 61. Sandy Casar (FRA), 62. Sébastien Chavanel (FRA), 63. Sébastien Joly (FRA), 64. Thomas Lövkvist (SUE), 65. Bradley McGee (AUS), 66. Ian McLeod (AFS), 67. Jérémy Roy (FRA), 68. Benoît Vaugrenard (FRA)
Euskaltel-Euskadi (ESP) : 71. Benat Albizuri (ESP), 72. Jorge Azanza (ESP), 73. Dionisio Galparsoro (ESP), 74. Iban Iriondo (ESP), 75. Markel Irizar (ESP), 76. Anton Luengo (ESP), 77. Iban Mayoz (ESP), 78. Joseba Zubeldia (ESP)

Cofidis (FRA) : 81. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA), 82. Frédéric Bessy (FRA), 83. Maryan Hary (FRA), 84. Maxime Monfort (BEL), 85. Ivan Parra (COL), 86. Christopher Sutton (AUS), 87. Rik Verbrugghe (BEL), 88. Steve Zampieri (SUI)
Gerolsteiner (ALL) : 91. Markus Zberg (SUI), 92. Johannes Frohlinger (ALL), 93. Matthias Russ (ALL), 94. Ronny Scholz (ALL), 95. Peter Wrolich (AUT), 96. Oliver Zaugg (SUI), 97. Stefan Schumacher (ALL)
Crédit Agricole (FRA) : 101. Pietro Caucchioli (ITA), 102. Alexandre Botcharov (RUS), 103. Christophe Edaleine (FRA), 104. Dmitriy Fofonov (KAZ), 105. Angelo Furlan (ITA), 106. Christophe Kern (FRA), 107. Rémi Pauriol (FRA), 108. Benoit Poilvet (FRA)
Team Slipstream-Chipotle (USA) : 111. William Frischkorn (USA), 112. Steven Cozza (USA), 113. Huub Duyn (PBS), 114. Benjamin Johnson (AUS), 115. Ian Macgregor (USA), 116. Danny Pate (USA), 117. Kilian Patour (FRA), 118. Taylor Tolleson (USA)
Ag2r Prévoyance (FRA) : 121. Jean-Patrick Nazon (FRA), 122. Sylvain Calzati (FRA), 123. Samuel Dumoulin (FRA), 124. Hubert Dupont (FRA), 125. John Gadret (FRA), 126. Simon Gerrans (AUS), 127. Yuriy Krivtsov (UKR), 128. René Mandri (EST)
Barloworld (AFS) : 131. Robert Hunter (AFS), 132. Diego Caccia (ITA), 133. Félix Cardenas (COL), 134. Gianpaolo Cheula (ITA), 135. Fabrizio Guidi (ITA), 136. Paolo Longo-Borghini (ITA), 137. James Perry (AFS), 138. Hugo Sabido (POR)
Agritubel (FRA) : 141. Romain Feillu (FRA), 142. Aivaras Baranauskas (LTU), 143. Freddy Bichot (FRA), 144. Cédric Coutouly (FRA), 145. Mikel Gaztanaga (ESP), 146. José Martinez (ESP), 147. Anthony Ravard (FRA), 148. Nicolas Vogondy (FRA)
Skil-Shimano (PBS) : 151. Fabien Bacquet (FRA), 152. David Deroo (FRA), 153. Yukihiro Doi (JPN), 154. Clément Lhotellerie (FRA), 155. Paul Martens (ALL), 156. Christian Müller (ALL), 157. Piet Rooijakkers (PBS), 158. Albert Timmer (PBS)
Team Wiesenhof-Felt (ALL) : 161. Olaf Pollack (ALL), 162. Artur Gajek (ALL), 163. Christian Leben (ALL), 164. Jorg Ludewig (ALL), 165. Daniel Musiol (ALL), 166. Robert Retschke (ALL), 167. Torsten Schmidt (ALL), 168. Peter Velits (SVQ)
Panaria-Navigare (ITA) : 171. Paride Grillo (ITA), 172. Antonio Bucciero (ITA), 173. Daniele Colli (ITA), 174. Tiziano Dall'Antonia (ITA), 175. Sergiy Matveyev (UKR), 176. Matteo Priamo (ITA), 177. Ariel Richeze (ARG), 178. Francesco Tomei (ITA)
Team LPR (SUI) : 181. Maurizio Bellin (ITA), 182. Borut Bozic (SLO), 183. Luca Celli (ITA), 184. José-Ignacio Gutierrez (ESP), 185. José-Enrique Gutierrez (ESP), 186. Marco Marcato (ITA), 187. Luca Solari (ITA), 188. Roberto Traficante (ITA)
Karpin-Galicia (ESP) : 191. Carlos Castano (ESP), 192. Gustavo Cesar-Veloso (ESP), 193. Santos Gonzalez (ESP), 194. David Herrero (ESP), 195. Serafin Martinez (ESP), 196. Francisco Mouron (ESP), 197. Isidro Nozal (ESP), 198. Enrique Salgueiro (ESP)

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