Pierrick FĂ©drigoÂ©Â PresseSports/AMounic
Pierrick Fedrigo (Bbox) resisted the challenge of time trial specialists to retain the yellow jersey earned bravely in the Col de lâ€™Ospedale in Saturday’s fist act and win the Criterium International. The Frenchman, who had grabbed two more seconds by finishing third in the short Sunday morning second stage, was 13th fastest in the final 7.7-kms time trial won by Briton David Millar, but it was more than enough to stay in the overall lead.In the final standings, the former French champion beat Australiaâ€™s Michael Rogers (HTC-Columbia) by 14 seconds while Portuguese Tiago Machado (RadioShack) was third, one second behind and was crowned the best under-25 rider in the race. Pre-race favourtie Alberto Contador partly avenged his huge disappointment in the first stage by finishing second against the clock, two seconds behind Millar, but two seconds ahead of Rogers.
Franceâ€™s Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur Sojasun) set the first reference time of the day in ten minutes and 15 seconds, a performance bettered by his team-mate Cyril Lemoine, as the Saur Sojasun completed a fine overall performance with Julien Simon, Jerome Coppel and Laurent Mangel.
The 10 minutes barrier was beaten by Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil) in 9:58.
The Dutchman was 10 seconds faster than seven times Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, relatively disappointing in 10:08, even if this time matched that of Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana).
Good day for Britain
Obviously intent on avenging his disappointment in yesterdayâ€™s first stage to Lâ€™Ospedale, Contador set the record straight in 9:51, seven seconds better than Westra.
It was enough for the Spaniard to fend off the challenge of Australiaâ€™s Michael Rogers, clocked in 9:53, but not enough to beat David Millar (Garmin Transitions). The Briton had made this stage his goal and he delivered in 9:49 crowning a great day for Britain after the victory by Russell Downing in the morning.
While Cadel Evans, Samuel Sanchez and Tiago Machado finished almost together in just over ten minutes, Pierrick Fedrigo amply limited the damage by clocking the 13th fastest time in 10:07.
It felt really good. I really enjoyed it. I spoke to Christian Vande Velde, he’s been coaching me over the last few days. Christian sent me a message, he said: Remember what we talked about, controlled panic. I felt really bad yesterday. Today I feel great. Christian was advising, actually, because I tend to overanalyze my stuff. Just ride with controlled panic, so that’s what I did. It’s why I rode like a bat out of hell, and didn’t think about it. I just ran hard. Thanks to my size and my aerodynamics, it’s hard for people to go faster than me, when it’s going fast downhill with a tailwind and I used that to my advantage.
Iâ€™m very happy. Itâ€™s not like winning the Tour for the Tour is another dimension. But the Criterium International was the biggest race so far this season in terms of the quality of the field and Iâ€™m proud. I now want to go even higher and do well in the Ardennes classics. Iâ€™m 31, eleven years as a pro, and I still donâ€™t know my limits. I keep surprising myself a bit.
Pierrick Fedrigo (BBOx) retains his yellow jersey with a 14 seconds lead over Michael Rogers (Columbia) with Tiago Machado (RadioShack) third, 15 seconds adrift.
David Millar (Garmin) won the 3rd stage ahead of Alberto Contador (Astana) and Michael Rogers (Columbia).
Pierrick Fedrigo (BBox) clocks the 13th time in 10:06 and wins the Criterium International.
Second-placed Portuguese Tiago Machado completes the course in 10:04.
Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) is just a little bit slower than Cadel Evans in 10:02.