Bbox Bouygues Telecom’s Pierrick Fedrigo was surprised to find himself winning the Criterium International opening stage over riders like Alberto Contador, Lance Armstrong, world champion Cadel Evans and Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez. The 31-year-old didn’t expect such an outcome at the top of the Ospedale in Corsica, but that’s not stopping him from targeting even bigger wins in the future.
“I’ve had really bad sensations since Paris-Nice,” Fedrigo said. “It was very special because everybody was waiting for Alberto Contador’s attack and it never happened. When David Moncoutié accelerated, I saw Samuel Sanchez sitting back on his saddle and I went.
“That’s how I found myself at the front,” he added. “I thought a group would come across but with one kilometre to go, the gap was the same and I understood I was going to win.”
Fedrigo, from France’s Bordeaux region, isn’t new to the spotlight having won Tour de France stages in 2006 and 2009. The former French champion won a Dauphiné mountain stage last year that included the Izoard climb, meaning his performance on Saturday’s Ospedale didn’t come as a huge shock.
“What I’ve done today I can do at races like Liège-Bastogne-Liège too,” Fedrigo said. “Many cyclists have realised what they are able to do as their career progressed. I have great goals to achieve yet.”
Fedrigo may have great goals, but he’s not confident of becoming the first Frenchman to win the Criterium International since Laurent Brochard in 2003. “On Sunday morning I’ll enjoy riding with the yellow jersey as much as I can because I should lose it in the afternoon,” he said.
With only 25 seconds advantage over the likes of Evans and Michael Rogers, he’s clearly not a favourite for the overall win despite his good condition. “I’ve done decent time trials in the past and hopefully wearing the yellow jersey will help me to perform better,” he said.
Regardless of whether he holds on for the overall victory, Fedrigo has already added market value to his name as his tenure with Bbox Bouygues Telecom nears its end. During the off season Fedrigo made it clear it was time for him to change horizon.