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Nazon Wins First Stage of Criterium Cycling Race - 2002-03-30

French cyclist Jean-Patrick Nazon has won the first stage of the Criterium International cycling race, a 192-kilometer ride in the Ardenne hills of northeastern France.

Nazon finished the stage in 4:52:26, just ahead of Italian Angelo Furlan and Francois Simon of France. The top-10 riders were all credited with the same time.

With the bonus for winning the stage Nazon has a four-second lead over Furlan in the overall standings. Simon is in third place, six seconds back. Three-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong of the United States finished with the main pack and is in 94th place.

There are two stages Sunday: a 98.5 kilometer ride followed by an 8.5 kilometer individual time trial. The Criterium is the only French race Armstrong plans to ride in before this year's Tour de France gets under way July 6.