COL DE L’OSPEDALE, France (VN) — Chris Froome surged to overall victory Sunday at the three-stage, two-day Critérium International while Sky teammate Richie Porte clinched second.
Tour de France runner-up Froome attacked with 5.5km to go on the Col de l’Ospedale, leaving Porte and everyone else in the dust. Froome won the stage and secured the overall.
Porte’s leader’s jersey thus went to Froome, who claims his second GC title of the season, following victory at the Tour of Oman and second at Tirreno-Adriatico.
“We wanted to control the race. My teammates did a great job. Richie and I had the legs to attack. It was perfect for Team Sky,” Froome said. “We knew we could respond to the attacks. The race made me realize I can rely on my teammates.”
Sky was strong all day, controlling an early breakaway that included Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Leopard). Schleck, who has struggled since crashing out of last year’s Critérium du Dauphiné, said he was pleased to be in the mix.
“Today was a good day. We wanted to make it difficult for Sky,” Schleck said. “I felt good. I still miss some power and I couldn’t follow the best in the end. That’s why I tried to go into the breakaway. Even if it didn’t work, I was happy on the bike.”
Defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) was dropped early in the climb . Teammate Tejay van Garderen could not match the pace, but rode to fifth on the stage to earn a podium spot with third overall.
With second at Tour de San Luís and fourth at Paris-Nice, van Garderen continues to post consistent results in every race he starts.
“I wouldn’t say I had any real objectives coming into this race,” he said. “It would have been nice to get a stage win, maybe in the time trial, but I am happy. Sky is obviously very strong and we are obviously going to have to step up our game if we’re going to be competitive with them.”
Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp), second at Paris-Nice to Porte, rode to sixth overall at 1:08 back.
The peloton returns to Corsica in a few months for the start of the 2013 Tour de France on June 29 from Porto Vecchio.