Britain’s Chris Froome destroyed the field to win the final stage and the overall title at the Criterium International as Team Sky completed a dominant one-two on Sunday.
The Tour de France runner-up attacked with 5.5km remaining on the climb to the Col de l’Ospedale, leaving teammate and then-race leader Richie Porte trailing in his wake.
Sky, who have been criticized for their defensive tactics, did not just sit and wait this time as Froome and Porte attacked one after another on the 14.1km ascent.
Paris-Nice champion Porte, who had snatched the yellow jersey after his victory in Saturday’s 7km time trial, counterattacked and managed to take second place on the day, 30 seconds behind Froome. Dutchman Bauke Mollema was third, 45 seconds off the pace.
Porte finished second overall, 32 seconds adrift of Froome.
“It was more or less what we had planned,” Froome told reporters. “The idea was to control the race all day. It was a huge task and we really put the pressure on the others. I did not plan to attack in the climb, but there was a gap between Richie and me, and I felt I could go, so I went. This race helped me see how I could trust my team with the Tour de France in mind.”
Froome has made the Tour his main objective after playing second fiddle to winner Bradley Wiggins last year.
He has shown that he has what it takes to lead the British outfit by winning the Tour of Oman, as well as finishing second in the Tirreno-Adriatico.
Porte said he had made an agreement with his teammate before the stage.
“The deal between Chris and I this morning was: ‘If you’ve got good legs, you go, and if I have good legs, I’m the one who goes.’ Then when we were in the final climb there was a small gap and nobody seemed to react, so he was in the situation in which he had to continue,” Porte said.
Last year’s winner Cadel Evans was dropped on the final climb with 10km remaining and finished 14 minutes, 56 seconds off the pace.
Tejay van Garderen of the US, Evans’ BMC teammate, also struggled to respond to Team Sky’s pace and was third overall, 54 seconds adrift.
Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck, who has been in terrible form since crashing out of the Criterium du Dauphine in June last year, was part of an early breakaway, but was reined in by the peloton before the final ascent and crossed the line 21:57 behind Froome.
The peloton returns to Corsica in three months for the start of the Tour de France from Porto Vecchio on June 29.