One of France’s Longest Running Races Ends After 85 Years

France has lost one of their longest running races this Friday when event owner Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) announced the cancellation of France’s Critérium International. This ends 85 years of the three stage, two day road race that was considered to be a ‘mini Tour de France.’

Tradition Matters? Not In These Circumstances

France has lost one of their longest running races this Friday when event owner Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) announced the cancellation of France’s Critérium International. This ends 85 years of the three stage, two day road race that was considered to be a ‘mini Tour de France.’

ASO, whose other cycling races includes Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix (they also own the Vuelta a Espana, but do not organize it), cited the loss of their largest sponsor, Corsica, along with the inability to find a host city and a packed UCI WorldTour calendar as the main reasons for ending this historical race.

“For its part, ASO has taken the decision to end the organisation of the event,” reads a press release on Friday. “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 final winner of the Criterium International was Thibaut Pinot who accomplished many feats in the short race, including his first time-trial stage victory.  Highlights below from the race:

Potential Crisis Averted

ASO made headlines in 2015 when the company threatened to pull out of the UCI’s WorldTour in 2017 because of disagreements with the planned reform (withdrawing the Tour de France with them). At the time the cycling director of ASO, Christian Prudhomme said of the reforms, “we refused the closed system.” However, things changed in June of 2016 when ASO announced that they will no longer withdraw their races from the UCI calendar in 2017 and agreed to the new UCI reforms.

Fun Fact

There is a scene in the french film Amélie of an actual event in which a horse gallops along riders in a cycling race that is often misattributed to the Tour de France. This actually happened during the 1997 Criterium International in the South West of France near Toulouse. According to eyewitness account, the horse left the field only 20 kilometers from the finish.

2017 UCI WorldTour Calendar

– 17-22 January: Santos Tour Down Under (Australia)*
– 29 January: Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (Australia)
– 6-10 February: Tour of Qatar (Qatar)
– 23-26 February: Abu Dhabi Tour (United Arab Emirates)
– 25 February: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Belgium)
– 4 March: Strade Bianche (Italy)
– 5-12 March: Paris-Nice (France)
– 8-14 March: Tirreno-Adriatico (Italy)
– 18 March: Milano-Sanremo (Italy)
– 20-26 March: Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (Spain)
– 22 March: Dwars Door Vlaanderen / A Travers la Flandre (Belgium)
– 24 March: Record Bank E3 Harelbeke (Belgium)
– 26 March: Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields (Belgium)
– 2 April: Ronde van Vlaanderen / Tour des Flandres (Belgium)
– 3-8 April: Vuelta al País Vasco (Spain)
– 9 April: Paris-Roubaix (France)
– 16 April: Amstel Gold Race (Netherlands)
– 18-23 April: Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (Turkey)
– 19 April: La Flèche Wallonne (Belgium)
– 23 April: Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Belgium)
– 25-30 April: Tour de Romandie (Switzerland)
– 1 May: Eschborn-Frankfurt « Rund um den Finanzplatz » (Germany)
– 6-28 May: Giro d’Italia (Italy)
– 14-21 May: Amgen Tour of California (United States)
– 4-11 June: Critérium du Dauphiné (France)
– 10-18 June: Tour de Suisse (Switzerland)
– 1-23 July: Tour de France (France)
– 29 July: Clásica Ciclista San Sebastian (Spain)
– 29 July-4 August: Tour de Pologne (Poland)
– 30 July: Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic (Great Britain)
– 7-13 August: Eneco Tour (Benelux)
– 19 August-10 September: Vuelta a España (Spain)
– 20 August: Cyclassics Hamburg (Germany)
– 27 August: Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France (France)
– 8 September: Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec (Canada)
– 10 September: Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (Canada)
– 30 September: Il Lombardia (Italy)
* bold are new for 2017

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