Le Tour’17 St19: Boom Boom Boasson Hagen!
Race Report: Of all the riders in this Tour de France there is one who deserves a stage win, not just because he has come close, but for his hard work trying to make up for the loss of his team’s fast finisher – Edvald Boasson Hagen. The long Tour stage 19:
After cruelly being denied the stage win by Marcel Kittel by fractions of a millimeter in the first week, Edvald Boasson Hagen finally gets his stage win as the breakaway holds off the peloton by ten minutes.
On paper todays 222km stage from Embrun – Salon-de-Provence was somewhere in the middle between a breakaway stage or a day for the sprinters or the sprinters that were still left in the race at least.
With the mountains classification already decided there was no sign of Warren Barguil in the early moves, the Frenchman dedicating himself to his Sunweb team and room mate Michael Matthews.
After many failed breakaway attempts, Frenchman Romain Sicard (Direct Energie) was first to crest the Cat 3 climb of Col Lebraut as some of the heavier riders dropped off the back, Greipel among the casualties.
The elastic finally broke in the valleys between the two climbs and by the foot of the Cote de Breziers a deluxe group of 20 riders. The break contained Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal), Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale), Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie), Romain Hardy (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Robert Kiserlovski (Katusha-Alpecin), Rudy Molard (FDJ), Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie), Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Gianluca Brambilla (Quick-Step Floors), Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Scott), Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates), Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Nikias Arndt (Sunweb), Michael Albasini (Orica-Scott), Daniele Bennati (Movistar), Julien Simon (Cofidis).
With so many teams represented in the breakaway and few teams with motive to chase in the peloton it looked promising that this group could make it to the line. With fast sprinters in this group such as Boasson Hagen and Bennati it was going to be up to the more attacking riders to force the pace on the final climb of the Col du Pointu to drop their rivals.
Direct Enegie had perhaps the strongest hand to play in this breakaway with Chavanel and Calmejane, two former stage winners with a good mix of youth and experience between them along with Sicard to bolster the numbers.
Meanwhile back in the peloton Sky parked the bus at the front of the race with several riders enjoying the drop in speed to have a comfort break including green jersey holder Michael Matthews. The familiar sight of Christian Knees, Luke Rowe and Vasil Kiriyenka dragged the peloton through the flatter mid-section of the stage as the gap to the breakaway stretched out to eight minutes.
As the break reached the final climb of the day and indeed of the tour the attacks began. However with 45km left to race still over the summit nobody was willing to let anything go.
Jens Keukeleire was the first to make a big attack with just over 20km to go, splitting the group in two. This left a group of the 9 strongest riders out front holding a gap of ten minutes to the peloton and 30-seconds on the chasers.
The final 10km played out like a game of chess. With breakaway specialists like De Gendt, Chavanel and Bakelants in the move the attacks were constant and unpredictable. The decisive move came with just over 2kms left to ride when Boasson Hagen, who many presumed would wait for the sprint, launched from the tired group and quickly opened up a sizable margin. Buoyed by the frustration of being beaten by Kittel by the smallest of margins earlier in the race, this time Boasson Hagen had time to lift his hands in celebration.
The happy Norwegian said after the finish: “After coming so close so many times this Tour it feels so nice to finally do it and to be able to cross the line solo and not in a photofinish is nice too!”
Tour de France Stage 19 Result:
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data in 5:06:09
2. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Sunweb at 0:05
3. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott at 0:17
4. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar
5. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie
7. Elie Gesbert (Fra) Fortuneo-Oscaro
8. Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Scott at 0:19
10. Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Fortuneo-Oscaro at 1:32
11. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie at 1:37
12. Ben Swift (GB) UAE Team Emirates
13. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
14. Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis
15. Romain Hardy (Fra) Fortuneo-Oscaro
16. Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJ
17. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Katusha-Alpecin
18. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
19. Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie
20. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
21. Christian Knees (Ger) Sky at 12:27
22. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky
23. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky
24. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky
25. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 19:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 83:26:55
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:23
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:29
4. Mikel Landa (Spa) Sky at 1:36
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1:55
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors at 2:56
7. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 4:46
8. Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates at 6:52
9. Warren Barguil (Fra) Sunweb at 8:22
10. Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 8:34
11. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 13:41
12. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 13:52
13. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky at 23:11
14. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 23:33
15. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 31:01
16. Brice Feillu (Fra) Fortuneo-Oscaro at 35:06
17. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 36:13
18. Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar at 36:25
19. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data at 37:31
20. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 40:49
21. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 41:49
22. Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale at 48:09
23. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 50:53
24. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Orica-Scott at 57:45
25. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie at 1:03:51.