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
Alex Hinds, Production Editor
Alex Hinds is a graduate of Economics and Political Science from Sydney University. Growing up in the metropolitan area of the city he quickly became a bike junkie, dabbling in mountain and road riding. Alex raced on the road in his late teens, but with the time demands of work and university proving too much, decided not to further pursue full-time riding.
If he was going to be involved in cycling in another way the media seemed the next best bet and jumped at the opportunity to work in the Sydney office of Cyclingnews when an offer arose in early 2011.
Though the WorldTour is of course a huge point of focus throughout the year, Alex also takes a keen interest in the domestic racing scene with a view to helping foster the careers of the next generation of cycling.
When not writing for Cyclingnews Alex is a strong proponent of the awareness of cyclists on the road in Sydney having had a few close run-ins with city traffic in the past.
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