By Nigel Wynn
The Critérium International stage race has been axed by organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), and will not take place in 2017, bringing its 85-year history to a close.
In a brief statement issued on Friday by ASO, the organisation cited a lack of teams and riders able to take part in the March event due to the volume of other races taking part around the same time.
"After seven years of excellent collaboration with the city of Porto-Vecchio, host city of the 100th Tour de France in 2013, Amaury Sport Organisation and the representatives of the community have decided to not renew their agreements concerning the Critérium International. However, the relationships that have developed over time will continue to produce cycling related events," read the ASO statement.
"For its part ASO has taken the decision to end the organisation of the event. While the winners have been of the highest quality, the peloton has seen a drop in density, due to the number of events taking place at this time of the season."
The race was first run in 1932, when it was won by Frenchman Léon Le Calvez in the days when it was called 'Critérium National de la Route' and only open to French nationals.
The name changed to Critérium International for 1979 and opened up to all nationalities, and subsequently boasted a list of winners that includes Bernard Hinault, Sean Kelly, Miguel Indurain, Chris Boardman, Cadel Evans and Chris Froome.
Jens Voigt, Raymond Poulidor and Emile Idée jointly hold the record for the most number of wins, with five apiece. Boardman and Froome are the only British riders to have won the event, in 1996 and 2013 respectively.
Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) won the UCI 2.HC-ranked event in 2016 ahead of Pierre Latour (Ag2r) and Sam Oomen (Giant-Alpecin).
The race comprised of three stages over two days, latterly featuring a road stage on one of the two days, and a short road stage and time trial on the other.
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