Fränk Schleck (Leopard-Trek) climbed to victory in a wild opener at the Critérium International on Corsica.
The elder of the Schleck brothers surged across the line victorious in a challenging climbing stage that ended atop the nearly 1000m-climb up the Col de l’Ospedale. Coming through second was Vasil Kiryienka (Movistar) at 16 seconds back with Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) slipping through third at 22 seconds in arrears.
“We previewed the final climb yesterday with the team and we knew that the steepest section came towards the end, so I attacked there,” Schleck said. “It worked. I’m very, very happy. It is a victory for the whole team. They did a great job the entire race. In the final climb, Andy and I took turns attacking. It put all the other riders in the red zone. When I launched my final attack, I was gone with Kiryienka and Taaramae.”
Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek) crossed the line 10th in a group of riders at 1:10 back that saw some important differences opening up among the GC favorites going into Sunday’s split stage that features a time trial and a road stage.
The race continues Sunday with a 75km morning road stage followed by a short, but decisive 7km individual time trial in the afternoon. The course features a small hill at 4km, but is otherwise flat favoring the specialists. Schleck should have enough of a head-start to have a good chance of hanging on for the overall victory.
- 1. Fränk Schleck (LUX), Leopard-Trek, 5:21:02
- 2. Vasil Kiryienka (BLR), Movistar, at 0:16
- 3. Rein Taaramae (EST), Cofidis, at 0:22
- 4. David Lopez Garcia (ESP), Movistar, at 0:58
- 5. Alexandre Geniez (FRA), Skil-Shimano, at 1:00
- 1. Frank Schleck (LUX), Leopard-Trek, 5:20:52
- 2. Vasil Kiryienka (BLR), Movistar, at 0:20
- 3. Rein Taaramae (EST), Cofidis, at 0:28
- 4. David Lopez Garcia (ESP), Movistar, at 1:08
- 5. Alexandre Geniez (FRA), Skil-Shimano, at 1:10