Corsica will play host to the Critérium International for at least the next three years, race organizers announced Monday.
The two-day, three-stage race ventured to the Mediterranean island this March and the success of the event persuaded local authorities to back an extension of a deal to keep the race on the island for the next three editions.
Christian Prudhomme traveled to the French island recently to seal the deal with local officials at Porto-Vecchio to keep the race on the southern part of the picturesque island.
Next year’s race will be held March 26-27, keeping its format — dating back to its inception in 1932 — of a flat, sprint-friendly stage, a short, decisive time trial and a tougher, climber’s stage.
Pierrick Fédrigo (BBox) won this year’s race, the first in Corsica after several editions in the French Ardennes in northern France.
The move is seen as the first step toward bringing the Tour de France to the island.
Corsica is the only French region never to have hosted a stage of the Tour in the history of the race. Some media reports in France suggest that Corsica could play host to the “grand départ” in 2013, which would mark the 100th edition of the French Tour.