Dutch rider, Laurens Ten Dam held on to take the first stage win of the CritĂ©rium International.
Laurens Ten Dam has passed the fianl kilometre banner with a 20" lead from the Voight chase group.
The race leader has passed the 2KM sign with a 15" lead from the chase group.
As the finish lines looms closer, Laurens Ten Dam is 30" ahead with 3kms to go!
The lead has been reduced to 40" with the final five kms to go.
Andy Schleck and Andiry Grivko attacked but soon caught by the rest of the Voigt group.
Laurens Ten Dam is now a mere 1’15" in the lead as the stage enters the final 10kms.
1. Ten Dam 3pts
2. Kolobnev 2pts
3. Voigt 1 pt
With the final 15kms to go,the chase group including defending race winner Jens Viogt is now just 2 minutes behind leader Laurens Ten Dam.
With less than 20kms to be raced, Laurens Ten Dam now leads by just 2’15" from the Voight chase group.
Ian McKissick is riding alone at 50" to leader Laurens Ten Dam as the chase group, including Voigt, Valverde and Cunego are closing in fast!
Laurens Ten Dam (HOL -RAB)now rides alone in the lead with the Voigt group now trailing by 2’40".
As the stage enters the final 25kms, the main field has been reduced to 35riders; including 2007 winner Jens Voigt and five of his team mates, Chavenal, Valverde, Gesink, Cunego, Pineau, Grivko and Millar
The main field is breaking apart as some 50 riders are no longer among the main field.
The average of speed through four hours is 39.4km/h.
The riders know trailing the main field also include Casar and Vogondy. The leaders have had their lead sliced to 6’05".
A group of 15 rides, including Ciolek, Rolland, Kirchen and Gadret have been dropped from the main field.
Euskatel-Euskadi rider Anton Luengo is the latest rider forced to call it a day.
1.Ten Dam 3pts/3"
2.Mckissick 2pts/ 2"
3. Drujon 1pt/1"
WIth less than 50kms to go for the leaders the gap has come down to 8’50".
The final sprint of the day at Chesne (KM 145) was won by Laurens Ten Dam (HOL -RAB) ahead of Ian McKissick (USA-BMC).
Following the crash; two riders have retired, SebastiĂ©n Delfosse (FRA-LAN) and Serafin Martinez (ESP- KGZ).
Several riders have crashed,including Vogondy, Casper and Edaleine.
1. Ian McKissick 4pts
2. Laurens Ten Dam 2pts
3. Pineau 1pt
Ian McKissick passed the Stonne climb ahead of his break away companion Laurens Ten Dam at the 132km point of the race.
Riders from the Slipstream, High Road and Francaisse des Jeux teams continue to set the tempo as the main field is now 12’15" behind leaders Laurens Ten Dam (HOL -RAB) and Ian McKissick (USA-BMC).
The first three hours of the CritĂ©rium International have been ridden at a pace of 39.2km/h by the leaders Laurens Ten Dam (HOL -RAB) and Ian McKissick (USA-BMC).
Mauricio Soler (COL - BAR),winner of the polka dot jersey on the 2007 Tour de France has dropped out.
The gap from leaders Laurens Ten Dam (HOL -RAB) and Ian McKissick (USA-BMC)to the main field has stabilised at 13’10".
1. Ten Dam 3pts /3"
2. McKissick 2pts /2"
3. Kohler 1pt / 1"
Laurens Ten Dam (HOL-RAB)took the second intermediate sprint at Vouziers (km92.5)ahead of Ian McKissick (USA-BMC).
With the acceleration of the riders from the High Road, Francaisse Des Jeux and Lampre the main field has trimmed the lead of Laurens Ten Dam (HOL -RAB) and Ian McKissick (USA-BMC)to 16’30".
The two leaders have ridden at an average speed of 39.2 km/h after two hours and their lead from the main field now stands at 16’30".
1.Ten Dam 3pts /3"
2.McKissick 2pts /2"
3.Voigt 1pt /1"
Francaise des Jeux and Slipstream have moved to the front of the main field as the two leaders are now 16’40" at 59km, some 10km ahead up the road.
Laurens Ten Dam took the fist intermediate sprint hounours from fellow break away rider Ian McKissick.
After the opening 50kms of the 193 to be covered, Laurens Ten Dam (HOL -RAB) and Ian McKissick (USA-BMC)are 16 full minutes to the good from the main field.
After the first 50kms Laurens Ten Dam (HOL -RAB) and Ian McKissick (USA-BMC)enjoy
Laurens Ten Dam (HOL -RAB) and Ian McKissick (USA-BMC)continue to pedal away from the main field and now a have a lead of 14’45".
The first hour of the race was run at an average speed of 39km/h.
Ian McKissick leads Laurens Ten Dam over the top of the first climb and the day’s first escapees now have an 11’25" advantage.
Laurens Ten Dam (HOL -RAB) and Ian McKissick (USA-BMC)have a 10’ lead at the foot of the first climb of the day. A three kilometre climb at 3,7%.
Laurens Ten Dam (HOL -RAB) and Ian McKissick (USA-BMC) have mushroomed their lead from the main field to 8’30" at km 24.5.
At km 16.5 the two leaders are now 5’15" ahead of the main field.
Laurens Ten Dam (HOL -RAB) and Ian McKissick (USA-BMC)are working together to lengthen their lead form the main field to 3’35" at km 12.
France is the most represented country in the peloton with 41 riders, next is Spain (21), followed by Italy (12), Germany (9) and Holland (9).
Nation by nation
Germany and Holland 9
United States 8
Columbia, Great Britain, Luxemburg, Russia 3
South Africa, Denmark, Japan, Sweden, Ukraine 2
Austria, Belarus, Hungary Kazakhstan, Norway, Czech Republic 1
The leaders Ten Dam (HOL-RAB) and Mckissick (USA -BMC) now have a 1’55" advantage at the 9.5km point.
Both point and time bonuses will be rewarded to the top three finishers at eash intermediate sprint.
Km 37.5 : CĂ´te de Signy-lâ€™Abbaye,
Km 132 : Stonne
Km 180.5 CĂ´te de Barbe en Croc
The two early escapees from the main field, Laurens Ten Dam and Ian Mckissick now have a 35’ advatnage at km7
Sault-les Rethel (km 62.5) ,Vouziers (km92.5), Le Chesne (km145)
Laurens Ten Dam(HOL-RAB) and Ian McKissick (USA- BMC) picked up the pace at km3 and have a 15 second lead from the peloton.
All 148 riders entered took the official start at 12:23.
This morningâ€™s edition of French daily Lâ€™Equipe published an article on Cyril Dessel, who experienced a difficult 2007 season while suffering from toxoplasmosis. After wearing the leaderâ€™s yellow jersey on the 2006 Tour de France, Dessel was hampered by nagging physical problems and a lack of confidence, which heâ€™s now trying to regain on the road. â€śThe mental aspect is key for me, when I feel that everything is there, I know my form can quickly return. But at the age of 33, it isnâ€™t easy to changeâ€ť, said the Frenchman.
Caisse Dâ€™Epargne team leader, Alejandro Valverde, who is coming into form after his victory on the Tour de Murcie, believes this yearâ€™s CritĂ©rium International suits him well. â€śDespite getting off to a strong start, I wasnâ€™t expecting to win so early on because, while Iâ€™m in decent shape, I am not yet 100%...â€ťValverde finished on the podium in the 2007 CritĂ©rium International, but doesnâ€™t consider himself among the favourites for 2008. â€ś I like the CritĂ©rium International a lot but it isnâ€™t one of my goals. I am looking to be at the front in the second half of the seasonâ€ť, said the Spaniard.
The riders will set off from Signy-le Petit for the 193km stage with the arrival at the Cours Aristide Briand in Charleville-MĂ©ziĂ©res.The sceduled start time is 12:20.