Frenchman Sicard takes lead in L'Avenir

Three Avenir stages to go for race leader and future professional Romain Sicard

Frenchman Romain Sicard took the race leader's jersey at the Tour de l'Avenir with three stages to race before the finish in Besançon, France, on Sunday. Team Orbea's Sicard broke free on the final climb towards the finish in Gérardmer in yesterday's "queen" stage of the Under 23 Avenir stage race. Russian Timofey Kritskiy joined him and won the stage from a two-man sprint.

Sicard has a comfortable advantage of 1:26 on Kritskiy, with American Tejay Van Gaderen in third position at 1:58.

"It was a difficult stage, considering the accumulated efforts since the start of the race," said Sicard "But I knew I had my card to play. After the second climb, the Colombians started chasing. I felt good, so I followed them and now I'm wearing yellow."

Sicard is especially concerned for the 27-kilometre time trial around Ornans on Saturday. "I have to be opportunistic and hold on to every second because the Russian is very strong in the race against the clock," said Sicard.

"I'm very satisfied with Romain's performance. To take the leader's jersey in a prestigious race as the Tour de l'Avenir, which is the Tour de France for young hopefuls, confirms that the Fundación Euskadi has done a good job," said Álvaro González de Galdeano, directeur sportif of Basque team Orbea Continental.

Sicard will become professional with team Euskaltel-Euskadi next season.

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