The 81st edition of the Critérium International started with a very entertaining first short stage in the morning. While a groupe of just under 50 riders managed to power away in the last 30kms, Frenchman Florian Vachon avaoided the falls and prooved to be the fastest of the bunched sprint, beating Wyss and Koretzky to the line. The Bretagne-Schuller rider therefore captures the first Yellow Jersey of the event.
Heavy showers hit beautiful Corsica during the night, but as the riders showed up on the start line, the clouds had miraculously disappeared for stage 1 of the race: a 89.5km loop around Porto-Vecchio.
After 7 kilometres on the sinuous road to the picturesque Palombaggia beach, three riders managed to break away: Berard (ALM), Le Lay (SAU) and 21-year-old Taaride (LPM), the youngest rider of the pack.
The front three saw their advantage grow from 40" at km 16 to a maximum 2’ at km 23. From then on, team SKY took command of the chase and the gap dropped.
At the top of the côte de Conca (km 46) where Berard captured the most mountain points ahead of Taaride and Le Lay, the pack remained 50" adrift. At km 53, while his former breakaway companions were caught by the pack, Berard insisted on his own. He was eventually caught at km 58.
A few moments later, 46 riders made the best of the narrow roads going downhill to power away. The pack therefore broke into two groups and the front men would never be caught. With 10 kilometres to go, they could enjoy a 35" lead.
Victory was to be decided in a bunched sprint. Avoiding a fall, Frenchman Florian Vachon flew to the line, beating Wyss (BMC) and Koretzky (LPM). He captures the overall leader’s Yellow jersey that he’ll be wearing in the afternoon for the individual time-trial. Vachon also leads the points’ standings while Berard claims the king of the mountains jersey.