The 2016 Criterium International on the island of Corsica comprises three stages over two days, with a 90.5km opening stage in Porto-Vecchio on March 26, followed by a 7km individual time trial there the same day. The race concludes March 27 with a 171.5km final stage from Porto-Vecchio to Col de l'Ospedale.
Now in its 85th year, the Criterium International was once a serious early season goal for many teams but is now held on the same weekend as the Volta a Catalunya and Gent-Wevelgem WorldTour races.
The race has been the property of Frenchman Jean-Christophe Péraud (AG2R La Mondiale) the past two years, while Chris Froome (Team Sky) won Criterium International on his way to taking his first Tour de France title in 2013, the year the French Grand Tour started in Porto-Vecchio. BMC's Cadel Evans won Criterium International in 2012, a year after Fränk Schleck (Leopard-Trek) took it in 2011. Other title holders over the past decade include three victories in 2007, 2008 and 2009 for Jens Voigt, who also won the race in 2004, along with Pierrick Fedrigo in 2010, Ivan Basso in 2006 and Bobby Julich in 2005.
Cannondale, Giant-Alpecin, IAM Cycling and One Pro Cycling are among the 16 teams invited to the 2016 race. Eight French WorldTour, Professional Continental and Continental teams are invited, including AG2R La Mondiale, Armée de Terre, Cofidis, Delko Marseille-Provence KTM, Direct Energie, FDJ, Fortuneo-Vital Concept, HP BTP-Auber 93, and Roubaix-Métropole Européenne de Lille. German teams Bora-Argon 18 and Stölting Service Group complete the 16 teams line-up.
Cannondale will likely send new French acquisition Pierre Rolland, while Giant-Alpecin's plans for Criterium International may have changed since six riders were involved in a training crash earlier this year. AG2R's Péraud is scheduled for the Giro d'Italia in May, but it's not yet known if he will be defending his Criterium International title.