Fedrigo wins Criterium, Contador and Armstrong finish also-rans

There are still 3 months to go before the Tour de France, but Lance Armstrong doesn’t look as if he’s even remotely close to his former self. Last year he finished the Tour in 7th place and this year he may not make the top 10. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

PORTO VECCHIO, France (AFP) – France’s Pierrick Fedrigo won the Criterium International on Sunday after Briton David Millar took the third and final stage, a 7.7km time trial.

The 31-year-old Fedrigo, who landed Saturday’s first stage, topped the overall standings by 14sec from Australia’s Michael Rogers, third in the time-trial, with Portugal’s Tiago Machado in third.

This was the first win of the season for Fedrigo, who has two Tour de France stage wins to his name.

The hot favourite for the two-day race, double Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, took second in the race against the clock through the streets of Porto Vecchio, two seconds behind Millar.

The Spaniard was making amends for his disappointing first stage performance when he was suffering from a mystery allergy.

Contador’s Astana team director Yvon Sanquer conceded that the overall result was disappointing.

“It (Contador’s performance) is a little moderate which is down to the allergy problem we had in the mountains on Saturday, the decisive stage of the three,” said Sanquer, who confirmed that Contador would prepare for the Tour with the Tour of Leon Castilla and the classics.

“However, we can be heartened by the overall performance of the team on the climb to Ospedale (on Saturday), especially that of Alexandre (Vinokourov) who produced the goods in the toughest part.

“It’s a pity that Alberto wasn’t at 100 percent to try and do something in the final stage.

“However, one shouldn’t over-dramatize. It just shows that he is human after all. He was ambitious but there were lots of others who also wanted to win. There was also another priority and that was his health.

“It wasn’t a total waste of time racing here.”

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who had admitted before the start that he was not in the form to make much of an impression in Corsica, was never in contention in the time trial after a 50th place in the first stage.

Alain Gallopin, one of the team directors at Armstrong’s RadioShack team, took satisfaction out of Contador’s uncomfortable day in the saddle on Saturday.

“The fact that Lance wasn’t up among the leaders isn’t a surprise for us,” said Gallopin.

“The chief memory to take out of this race is the failure of Contador, which no-one could possibly have predicted.

“Lance knows very well what it takes to be ready for the Tour. Lance will turn up at the start of the Tour in his best form.

“He needs to do several stages in the mountains, timed ones in order to get a proper idea of where he is.

“However, we didn’t think he would be so far behind in Saturday’s mountain stage (he finished 4min 51sec adrift of the stage winner).

“Once he saw he couldn’t go with the leaders, he eased up. If he had finished 2 minutes or 4 minutes off the winner, it wouldn’t have changed anything.”

Sunday morning’s 75km second stage was won by Russell Downing.

Team Sky’s British road race champion in 2005 was followed across the line by Michael Albasini with Fedrigo third.

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