The 81st edition of the Critérium International takes on much of the same roads as the 2011 race, but will undergo a stage shuffle to finish, rather than the start with the queen stage to the Col de l'Ospedale.
The move is hoped by race organiser ASO to have the race conclude on the most climactic day, with the traditional closing time trial moved to the opening day and leaving no recourse for the chrono specialists to make up potential time losses after the l'Ospedale.
The alternate stage order will in theory keep the overall undecided until after the finish of stage 3, a positive change for fans and the race organisation, particulalry after last year's race more or less decided by Frank Schleck's solo win on the first stage.
As with previous years when the race has been run in Corsica the event will be organised out of Porto-Vecchio, with ASO continuing to test the roads the Tour de France will ride over in 2013. The first stage will see riders take on a 89.5 km flat stage, before a 6.5 km time trial to be run immediately after. The Col de l'Ospedale stage is shorter at 179 km than last year, but arguably harder with a hillier finale.
Teams for the 81st Criterium International
BMC Racing Team
AG2R La Mondiale
FDJ - BigMat
Team Type 1 - Sanofi
Cofidis, Le crédit en ligne
La Pomme Marseille