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PORTO-VECCHIO, France (VN) — Richie Porte (Sky) seized the overall lead in the Criterium International after winning the stage-2 time trial on Saturday.
Porte won the 7km stage ahead of Manuele Boaro (Saxo-Tinkoff) and American Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing), both just one second slower.
Porte now leads on the overall, with Boaro second and Van Garderen third.
The Criterium International concludes on Sunday with a 176km leg from Porto-Vecchio to Col de l’Ospedale. The stage features six categorized climbs, ending atop the first-category l’Ospedale summit.
The final climb is certainly steep enough to see some fireworks. Last year, Pierrick Fedrigo (FDJ) kicked to victory out of a four-man group that crossed the line eight seconds clear of the chasers.
Porte said Team Sky is well positioned, with Chris Froome in fourth at just two seconds back.
“We’re in a good position with me in the lead and Froomey sitting just a few seconds back on GC. It’s going to be quite tight tomorrow because there’s a lot of good riders close to us,” Porte said.
“We came in with Froomey as our leader and he’s a great friend, so if he’s got good legs tomorrow and I don’t, then I’ll be more than happy to ride for him. Obviously, I’d like to finish the job off if I can, but as long as Team Sky win tomorrow it’ll be a great day and we’ll all be happy.”
Van Garderen stopped the clock just one second slower than Porte while Paris-Nice runner-up Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) was fifth at seven seconds off the pace.
Sunday’s mountaintop finish looks like an opportunity to van Garderen.
“We go into tomorrow trying to figure out a way to win this race,” he said. “I’ve studied the last climb a little bit and we saw the first part of it in training the other day. It looks like a nice climb, steady, and not too steep. It looks like it suits me pretty well. I’m going to try to do what I can.”
Earlier Saturday, Theo Bos (Blanco) sprinted to victory in the 89km opening stage, ahead of French champion Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) and Jonathan Cantwell (Saxo-Tinkoff), to take the first leader’s jersey of the three-stage race.