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Casper sprints to win at Critérium International

Besson Chaussures-Sojasun’s Jimmy Casper showed off his strong early season form Saturday, winning the opening stage of France’s Critérium International , a 190km ride from Monthois to Charleville-Mézières. The 30-year-old Casper had already won two stages in Etoile de Bessèges in February. Casper said he was especially pleased to be a member of a small continental squad making a mark on a prestigious race . Casper was quick to praise Christian Prudhomme, the director of cycling at ASO, for having "invited a small team to the Critérium International.”

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Critérium International ’09 – Stage 1: Casper nails it.

Photo: Graham Watson

Besson Chaussures-Sojasun’s Jimmy Casper showed off his strong early season form Saturday, winning the opening stage of France’s Critérium International , a 190km ride from Monthois to Charleville-Mézières.

The 30-year-old Casper had already won two stages in Etoile de Bessèges in February.

Casper said he was especially pleased to be a member of a small continental squad making a mark on a prestigious race .

Casper was quick to praise Christian Prudhomme, the director of cycling at ASO, for having “invited a small team to the Critérium International.”

Casper, a former Tour de France stage winner, suffered a serious career setback in 2007 when he crashed at Gent-Wevelgem. He was also caught up in doping accusations in 2008 after failing to renew his Therapeutic Use Exemption for a corticosteroid used to treat asthma. The problems led to his closing out the year without a contract.

Critérium International ’09 – Stage 1: Duggan and the rest of the break were eventually caught with 5km to go.

Photo: Graham Watson

“I realized that this winter cycling is the most beautiful profession in the world,” Casper said. “Of course you tend not to realize this sort of thing until you can’t find a team on which to ride. Fortunately, (Besson Chaussues manager)Stéphane Heulot offered me another chance to ride … and in turn, I offer this win in his honor.”

Casper won the sprint at the end of a stage highlighted by a 170km break by four riders, including Timothy Duggan (Garmin-Slipstream), Arnaud Coyot (Caisse d’Epargne), Christophe Kern (Cofidis) and David Lelay (Agritubel).

After attacking at the 16km mark, the escapees were reeled in with just 5km remaining, under heavy pressure from the Saxo Bank team of defending champion Jens Voigt.

Critérium International ’09 – Stage 1: Saxo gives chase.

Photo: Graham Watson

Voigt, a four-time winner of the race, finished in the main field. Riders will face a double-stage day on Sunday, starting with a 98.5km ride from Les Vieilles Forges to Monthermé.

Later in the afternoon, riders will take on an 8.3km individual time trial in Charleville.

“I have no illusions,” said Casper. “I will lose the jersey but I will do my best to defend it.”

Photo Gallery

Results

Critérium International
Stage 1 Monthois to Charleville-Mézières

1. Jimmy Casper (Fra), Besson Chaussures-Sojasun 190km in 4:42:15 (40.4kph)
2. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr), Française Des Jeux s.t.
3. Cyril Lemoine (Fra), Skil-Shimano s.t.
4. Mark Renshaw (Aus), Columbia-Highroad s.t.
5. Ben Swift (GBr), Katusha s.t.
6. Koldo Fernandez (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi s.t.
7. Aurélien Clerc (Swi), Ag2r La Mondiale s.t.
8. Julian Dean (NZl), Garmin-Slipstream s.t.
9. Alexandre Pichot (Fra), BBox Bouygues Telecom s.t.
10. Arnold Jeannesson (Fra), Caisse d’Epargne s.t.
11. Bobbie Traksel (Ned), Vacansoleil s.t.
12. Danilo Wyss (Swi), BMC s.t.
13. Markus Zberg (Swi), BMC s.t.
14. Reinier Honig (Ned), Vacansoleil s.t.
15. Romain Feillu (Fra), Agritubel s.t.
16. Jens Voigt (Ger), Saxo Bank s.t.
17. Alexandre Botcharov (Rus), Katusha s.t.
18. Roman Kireyev (Kaz), Astana s.t.
19. Piet Rooijakkers (Ned), Skil-Shimano s.t.
20. Simon Geschke (Ger), Skil-Shimano s.t.
21. Christian Meier (Can), Garmin-Slipstream s.t.
22. Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra), Besson Chaussures-Sojasun s.t.
23. Alexandre Moos (Swi), BMC s.t.
24. Matteo Carrara (Ita), Vacansoleil s.t.
25. Nicolas Roche (Irl), Ag2r La Mondiale s.t.
26. Ivan Velasco (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi s.t.
27. Tony Martin (Ger), Columbia-Highroad s.t.
28. Jean-Eudes Demaret (Fra), Cofidis s.t.
29. Maxime Monfort (Bel), Columbia-Highroad s.t.
30. Sandy Casar (Fra), Française Des Jeux s.t.
31. Juan Jose Haedo (Arg), Saxo Bank s.t.
32. Mevel Christophe Le (Fra), Française Des Jeux s.t.
33. Bert Grabsch (Ger), Columbia-Highroad s.t.
34. Frank Schleck (Lux), Saxo Bank s.t.
35. Hubert Dupont (Fra), Ag2r La Mondiale s.t.
36. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb), Vacansoleil s.t.
37. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita), Ag2r La Mondiale s.t.
38. Frantisek Rabon (Cze), Columbia-Highroad s.t.
39. Evgeni Petrov (Rus), Katusha s.t.
40. Yury Trofimov (Rus), BBox Bouygues Telecom s.t.
41. Yann Huguet (Fra), Agritubel s.t.
42. Rui Costa (Por), Caisse d’Epargne s.t.
43. Juan José Oroz (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi s.t.
44. David Lelay (Fra), Agritubel s.t.
45. Michael Albasini (Swi), Columbia-Highroad s.t.
46. Danny Pate (USA), Garmin-Slipstream s.t.
47. Jérôme Coppel (Fra), Française Des Jeux s.t.
48. Bingen Fernandez (Spa), Cofidis s.t.
49. Jeremy Galland (Fra), Besson Chaussures-Sojasun s.t.
50. Laurent Mangel (Fra), Besson Chaussures-Sojasun s.t.
51. Yannick Talabardon (Fra), Besson Chaussures-Sojasun s.t.
52. Arnaud Coyot (Fra), Caisse d’Epargne s.t.
53. Alan Perez (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:10
54. Mikel Astarloza (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:18
55. Daniel Moreno (Spa), Caisse d’Epargne, at 0:34
56. Christophe Moreau (Fra), Agritubel, at 0:34
57. Oscar Pereiro (Spa), Caisse d’Epargne, at 0:34
58. Jakob Fuglsang (Den), Saxo Bank, at 0:34
59. Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra), BBox Bouygues Telecom, at 0:34
60. Cyril Gautier (Fra), BBox Bouygues Telecom, at 0:34
61. Daniel Navarro (Spa), Astana, at 0:34
62. Sébastien Joly (Fra), Française Des Jeux, at 0:34
63. Anthony Ravard (Fra), Agritubel, at 0:34
64. Gustav Larsson (Swe), Saxo Bank, at 0:34
65. Julien Simon (Fra), Besson Chaussures-Sojasun, at 0:34
66. Nicolas Hartmann (Fra), Bretagne-Schuller, at 0:34
67. Clément Lhotellerie (Fra), Vacansoleil, at 0:34
68. Martin Kohler (Swi), BMC, at 0:34
69. Ian Mckissick (USA), BMC, at 0:34
70. Martial Ricci Poggi (Fra), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:34
71. Janez Brajkovic (Slo), Astana, at 0:34
72. Kevin Neyrinck (Bel), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:34
73. Kevin Ista (Bel), Agritubel, at 0:34
74. Thomas Peterson (USA), Garmin-Slipstream, at 0:34
75. Bradley Wiggins (GBr), Garmin-Slipstream, at 0:34
76. Steve Houanard (Fra), Skil-Shimano, at 0:34
77. Alexandr Pliuschin (Mda), Ag2r La Mondiale, at 0:34
78. Yukihiro Doi (Jpn), Skil-Shimano, at 0:34
79. Jonathan Hivert (Fra), Skil-Shimano, at 0:34
80. Thomas Frei (Swi), BMC, at 0:34
81. Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra), Agritubel, at 0:34
82. Joan Horrach (Spa), Katusha, at 0:34
83. Vladimir Karpets (Rus), Katusha, at 0:34
84. Ivan Rovny (Rus), Katusha, at 0:34
85. Andy Schleck (Lux), Saxo Bank, at 0:34
86. Anthony Charteau (Fra), Caisse d’Epargne, at 0:34
87. Damien Monier (Fra), Cofidis, at 0:34
88. Anthony Roux (Fra), Française Des Jeux, at 0:34
89. Mathieu Perget (Fra), Caisse d’Epargne, at 0:34
90. Christophe Kern (Fra), Cofidis, at 0:34
91. Julien Loubet (Fra), Ag2r La Mondiale, at 0:34
92. Johann Tschopp (Swi), BBox Bouygues Telecom, at 0:34
93. Maryan Hary (Fra), Cofidis, at 0:34
94. Laurent Lefevre (Fra), BBox Bouygues Telecom, at 0:34
95. Jean-Marc Bideau (Fra), Bretagne-Schuller, at 0:34
96. Albert Timmer (Ned), Skil-Shimano, at 0:34
97. Chris Anker Sørensen (Den), Saxo Bank, at 0:34
98. Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra), Besson Chaussures-Sojasun, at 0:34
99. Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz), Astana, at 0:34
100. Nico Sijmens (Bel), Cofidis, at 0:34
101. Dirk Bellemakers (Ned), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 0:34
102. Florian Morizot (Fra), Besson Chaussures-Sojasun, at 0:34
103. Jason Donald (USA), Garmin-Slipstream, at 0:34
104. Gregorio Rémy Di (Fra), Française Des Jeux, at 1:26
105. Dimitri Champion (Fra), Bretagne-Schuller, at 1:26
106. Thierry Hupond (Fra), Skil-Shimano, at 1:26
107. Benjamin Gourgue (Bel), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 1:26
108. Tadej Valjavec (Slo), Ag2r La Mondiale, at 1:26
109. Fares Julien El (Fra), Cofidis, at 2:01
110. Steve Morabito (Swi), Astana, at 2:01
111. Guillaume Levarlet (Fra), Française Des Jeux, at 2:01
112. Yann Pivois (Fra), Bretagne-Schuller, at 2:01
113. Romain Lebreton (Fra), Bretagne-Schuller, at 2:01
114. Christophe Riblon (Fra), Ag2r La Mondiale, at 2:01
115. Gaël Malacarne (Fra), Bretagne-Schuller, at 2:01
116. Romain Villa (Fra), Cofidis, at 2:01
117. Sébastien Delfosse (Bel), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 2:22
118. Nicolas Portal (Fra), Caisse d’Epargne, at 3:38
119. Antonio Cruz (USA), BMC, at 3:58
120. Michael Barry (Can), Columbia-Highroad, at 3:58
121. Mathias Frank (Swi), BMC, at 3:58
122. Mathieu Drouilly (Fra), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 4:06
123. Lilian Jegou (Fra), Bretagne-Schuller, at 4:06
124. Lasse Bochman (Den), Saxo Bank, at 4:06
125. Kilian Patour (Fra), Garmin-Slipstream, at 4:06
126. Olivier Bonnaire (Fra), BBox Bouygues Telecom, at 4:06
127. Matthieu Sprick (Fra), BBox Bouygues Telecom, at 4:06
128. Marco Marcato (Ita), Vacansoleil, at 5:15
129. Wouter Mol (Ned), Vacansoleil, at 5:15
130. Andrey Zeits (Kaz), Astana, at 5:24
131. Eduardo Gonzalo (Spa), Agritubel, at 7:26
132. Andoni Lafuente (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 9:31
133. Josu Agirre (Spa), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 9:31
134. Wouter Poels (Ned), Vacansoleil, at 9:31
135. Timothy Duggan (USA), Garmin-Slipstream, at 9:31