Criterium International: attacking all the way...

...toward Col de l'Hopital. It was supposed to be so and so it has been. Trek Factory Racing did a lot of work to prepare Frank Schleck's attack and he didn't disappointed his team: he attacked many and many times, showing a splendid shape and maybe a too large generosity. The stage winner, Mathias Frank, won indead in counterattack jumping out Frank's wheel. Waiting a little, managing it coldly Frank could have won this one. No doubt he's going to get a beautiful victory this year and probably in a more beautiful race... Ardennes Classics are close and I see Frank Schleck is ready.
Mathias Frank was dangerous also in the GC so Péraud couldn't let him go: same time for them in a last-breath uphill sprint. And remember what I said: keep an eye on French guys! Lately they definitely rock and I'm developing a - sporty! - crush for AlexisVuillermoz...

What  Jean-Christophe Péraud  said:
"I have the sense of having accomplished my duty. The Criterium International was a bit more open this year and it was an opportunity not to be missed. This is a great event and I’m glad to win it, it’s really a sheer happiness. I was looking for a victory in a stages race for a while and it’s done. On the final part, I counted every seconds to be able to win the overall classification. I had nothing against letting someone go out, but I knew that Mathias Frank was the only one I couldn't permit to break away if I wanted to win. In the leading group, there were attacks but also some temporized moments, it was really psychologically difficult. The whole Equipe cycliste AG2R LA MONDIALE has once again worked well and Alexis (Vuillermoz) had a very important role in the final kilometers. He has widely made his contribution to this victory by accelerating and thereby leaving behind some strong riders. Next goal for me, the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, a race that I particularly enjoy.”

What Tom Dumoulin said: 
“I gave it my best today but at the end the other guys were climbing quicker than I could and that it that. It was great to wear the yellow jersey and to have the respect that you get from all the other riders. We had a young group of guys here and to win a stage and have the yellow jersey was still a good result and we can be proud of the way we rode. Personally I’m really happy to have got my first win and it will hopefully give me the extra confidence I need now to keep challenging for more wins over the course of the season.

What Frank Schleck said:
“I felt I was the strongest in the climb and honestly after the 6th or 7th time attacking I also got tired. Fourth is not a bad place. Overall, it was fun, and really good to see the team riding as they did. We wanted to do something special today. The boys told me, ‘you are going to win on Sunday, we race for you, and then you can take that present home to the family.  So we had a plan for that, and I had the confidence to pull that off. We have a young team, and they worked the plan very well.  We did everything possible, and for me it was a lot like Paris-Nice. I attacked many times, but the climb was not quite hard enough in the end. Now I am looking forward to traveling home to see my new, little baby girl. The team gave me the option to return home but I chose to stay and do the race. I had a great opportunity today and just missed it.  The pressure was big today, and I am confident about my shape. And Bob [Jungels] was great today. There is definitely a lot more to come from him."

1 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 4:43:59
2 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
3 Tiago Machado (Por) Team NetApp - Endura 0:00:02
4 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:03
5 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
6 Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:00:13
7 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:20
8 Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia 0:00:36
9 Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) Team La Pomme Marseille 13
10 Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
1 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 7:00:12
2 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:00:01
3 Tiago Machado (Por) Team NetApp - Endura 0:00:19
4 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:25
5 Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:00:26
6 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:28
7 Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:47
8 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:48
9 Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:57
10 Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia 0:01:07

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