Britain’s Ben Swift (Katusha) came fifth in today’s opening stage of the 2009 Criterium International in France.

Swift came in at the same time as stage winner Jimmy Casper (Besson Chaussures) in the bunch finish at the end of 190km of racing. Swift now tops the table for best young rider.

Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) came home in 75th place, 34 seconds behind Casper.

The Criterium International comprises of three stages over two days. The final day of action tomorrow (Sunday) commences with a short, 98.5km road stage followed by a 8.3km individual time trial. Wiggins has to rank as one of the favourites for this final test against the clock.

Last year’s race was won by German Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) – his fourth victory in the event.

Criterium International stage one results

1. Jimmy Casper (Fra) Besson Chaussures 190km in 4-42-15


2. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Francaise des Jeux

3. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Skil-Shimano

4. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Columbia-Highroad

5. Ben Swift (GB) Katusha

6. Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi

7. Aurelien Clerc (Swi) Ag2r

8. Julian Dean (NZ) Garmin-Slipstream

9. Alexandre Pichot (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom

10. Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) Caisse d’Epargne all at same time.

British

75. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 34secs

Overall classification after stage one

1. Jimmy Casper (Fra) Besson Chaussures in 4-42-05


2. Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Caisse d’Epargne at 2secs

3. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Francaise des Jeux at 4secs

4. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Skil-Shimano at 6secs

5. David Lelay (Fra) Agritubel at 7secs

6. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Columbia-Highroad at 10secs

7. Ben Swift (GB) Katusha

8. Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi

9. Aurelien Clerc (Swi) Ag2r

10. Julian Dean (NZ) Garmin-Slipstream all same time.

British

76. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 44secs

imagePeloton on stage one

imageBradley Wiggins on stage one

imageJimmy Casper wins stage one and takes the race lead

imageCasper happy in yellow

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