Team RadioShack’s Andreas Klöden (GER), continued to show his strong form this spring by winning Sunday’s final 7.8 kilometer individual time trial stage at the Criterium International in France, by 4 seconds over second place finisher Bradley Wiggins (GBR) of Team Sky. Third place went to Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) of Leopard-Trek, 10 seconds back, and only 20 seconds behind Klöden was 9th place finisher, RadioShack’s Tiago Machado, who ended up placing 5th in the overall general classification.
Today’s racing at the 80th running of the Criterium comprised the relatively unusual format of completing two stages in the same day. Earlier in the day, the riders completed the relatively flat 75-kilometer Stage 2, starting and finishing in the picturesque port city of Porto-Vecchio, on the French Island of Corsica. Simon Geschke (GER) of Skil-Shimano took that stage, though it had little effect on the overall standings with the top 3 riders maintaining their places throughout the race.
The final GC had Leopard-Trek’s Frank Schleck (LUX) in first, Vasili Kiryienka (BLR) of Movistar in 2nd, and Rein Taaramae (EST) of Cofidis in third. Though staying in the top 15 from day one, TRS’s 25-year old Machado jumped to 5th place in the final standings with his strong ITT performance.
Klöden said that he wasn’t feeling well at the start on Saturday’s first stage in the mountains, perhaps not adjusting quickly enough to surroundings having just arrived the day before. But by Sunday’s finale it was apparent that the experienced German had settled into his surroundings well enough to master them by clocking something like 53 kmh over the distance and beating such notables as Wiggins, Zabriskie, Monfort, Hesjedal, both Schlecks, Samuel Sanchez and Vinokourov.
The 35-year old Klöden now has two big victories in this young season, winning Stage 5 at Paris-Nice, today’s stage in the Criterium International, and lets not forget his 2nd place overall in the GC of Paris-Nice. This former Olympic medalist and Road Race Champion is making 2011 a season to remember for Team RadioShack fans.
By George Hurst, staff writer