Chris Froome wins Criterium International ahead of Team Sky team-mate Richie Porte
Chris Froome claimed victory at the Criterium International by climbing to victory on stage three.
By Nick Howes
Last Updated: 24/03/13 7:59pm
The Briton powered clear of the field on the climb to the summit finish on the Col de l'Ospedale, crossing the line 30 seconds ahead of Team Sky team-mate and overnight leader Richie Porte, who was also runner-up in the general classification.
Froome delivered his winning attack with 5.5km to go and Porte then waited a further 3.5km before launching a move of his own that shelled the other contenders for victory.
The result saw Froome wrap up the yellow jersey with a 32-second advantage over his team-mate, with Tejay van Garderen (BMC) a further 22 seconds adrift in third place overall.
"I didn't really intend to attack on the climb, but when the gap widened between myself and Richie, I felt I could go on, so I went for it," Froome told teamsky.com.
"It was that quick thinking between us that brought about the victory and we couldn't ask for any more than a one-two on the stage and GC.
"It was a huge job and we really put pressure on the other teams. Richie and I didn't have to make any big efforts until right at the end there. The team did that work for us and all we had to do was finish it off."
The action had got off to a rainy start in Porto-Vecchio, but that didn't deter seven riders from chipping off the front after 20km.
The quartet saw their lead grow to over four minutes, but with Team Sky and Europcar upping their efforts in the peloton, their move had all but been annulled as they approached the Col de Sainte-Lucie-de-Tallano.
It was on that climb where Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Mathias Frank (BMC), Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Leopard) and Francis Mourey (FDJ) instigated a renewed 10-man move, but Schleck fell off the pace shortly before the summit, leaving his three accomplices to press on alone and open up a one-minute advantage as they began the Col de Bacinu.
That was when Team Sky upped their pursuit once again, with Kanstantsin Siutsou and Vasil Kiryienka riding hard over the next 20km to haul them back by the time they hit the final climb of the day.
Kiryienka eventually pulled over in the last 6km after a commendable effort, by which point Johann Tschopp (IAM Cycling) had edged ahead of the vastly reduced bunch.
It was only minutes later when Froome got the nod off Porte to launch into a ferocious ascent, and then passed Tschopp with apparent ease, before pressing on for his second race victory of the season.
Back in the bunch, Porte was under no pressure to chase, but made his own move inside the last 2km, distancing his remaining rivals and following his best friend home to cap a dominant Team Sky display.
Porte told teamsky.com: "Tactically we were spot on today. Froomey set a hard tempo after Kiryienka's mammoth turn and I thought I would let a small gap go to see what happened, and that was the last we saw of Froomey, he was gone.
"It wasn't planned but it worked out perfectly. We ride together every day so we know each other so well, and when he went nobody reacted so he had to continue. The only important thing was that Team Sky won today. It is always special to get a one-two on the podium."
Stage three result
1 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, 4:43.38
2 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky, +30secs
3 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco, +45
4 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, same time
5 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC, st
6 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp, +53
7 Johan Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling, +57
8 John Gadret (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +1.07
9 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ, +1.08
10 Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, 1.08
1 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, 6:55.23
2 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, +32
3 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC, +54
4 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco, +1.00
5 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +1.00
6 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp, +1.08
7 Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +1.33
8 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ, +1.37
9 Johan Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling, +1.43
10 John Gadret (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, 2.05