• Edvald Boasson Hagen beats the bunch to claim a Tour win for Dimension Data. (Getty)Source: Getty
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) made sure that his 2017 Tour de France wouldn't be remembered for a photo-finish loss to Marcel Kittel, winning Stage 19 into Salon de Provence.
Cycling Central

22 Jul 2017 - 2:14 AM  UPDATED 22 Jul 2017 - 6:59 AM

An uneventful day for the peloton saw Chris Froome (Team Sky) retain the yellow jersey so it was up to Boasson Hagen to provide the entertainment with the quietly spoken rider scoring his third career Tour stage victory.

The Dimension Data rider was part of the early breakaway, a 20-man strong group that went away after a significant fight to get into the move. He drove hard to drop his breakaway companions in the final three kilometres of the race, taking the shorter route around the roundabout and accelerating to victory through the final technical corners.

He was chased home hard by Nikias Arndt (Sunweb), with Jens Keukeliere (Orica-Scott) sprinting to third, but it was the Norwegian who be remembered for saving Dimension Data's blushes and claiming the squad's maiden win for the race.

"I'm really happy," Boasson Hagen said. "The team did really well, trying to contain the race before it got away for the break, to try and control the small group. I was in good position on the climb and then when we came down I was in the breakaway. We rode really well together the whole day.

"Inside the last two kilometres, I made a final attack and no one could follow. I'm really happy that I managed to win, I've been so close so many times now and finally, I got one." 

Boasson Hagen was regarded as the fastest man at the front if it did come down to the sprint for the line, but instead used the element of surprise to go it alone and finish the race as a solo winner.

"I could have waited but I was feeling quite good and I could manage to do one good attack," he said. "I made a good gap and I could cross the line alone. I didn't need another photo finish."

A very uneventful day for the peloton saw Team Sky simply sit on the front and tap out the tempo once the breakaway had gone, with no battle for the general classification as the top contenders had their eyes firmly fixed on the decisive time-trial tomorrow.

Stage 19 Winners
Christophe LAPORTE

As it happened

An attacking start to the stage saw a lot of skirmishing to get into the early breakaway, with the early escape considered a strong chance of taking the win into Salon-de-Provence. It took almost 40km for the breakaway to go clear, but finally, a 20-man group was allowed to make its way free of the peloton.

With little interest from Sky or the sprinting teams, the early move was allowed to do its own thing at the front of the race and fight it out for the stage win.

Keukeleire was the first of the early move to try a serious attack, going clear with 60km left in the race. He was brought back before the final categorised climb of the race as the pace picked up. Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Robert Kiserlovski (Katusha-Alpecin) and Romain Sicard (Direct Energie) were the first to launch on the climb, with the trio working well together to put the pressure on the riders behind.

A hard chase behind caught the escapees, with the front group all together again. A headwind into Salon de Provence was slowing down the attackers and giving the advantage to the larger groups of riders. 

An attempt to put the pace on with 20km to go saw the front group split in half as the riders at the front tried to eliminate the unlucky ones that missed the fracturing of the small bunch. Boasson Hagen was the danger man in the front, with his pedigree as a fast sprinter meaning he would likely take the win if the race came down to a sprint to the line.

The group of nine at the front worked well together, building an advantage as they pulled hard turns to ensure the riders caught behind wouldn't be able to return and fight out the stage win.

With less than 10km remaining, and the riders behind limited to scrapping for the minor placings, the attacks started from the front group and a game of cat-and-mouse began. A number of attacks went and were dragged back, but Boasson Hagen surprised them all with his decisive attack with three kilometres left.

He and Arndt went right around a roundabout with three kilometres remaining, the rest of the group went left and the Norwegian attacked, dropping his companion. From there the 30-year-old never looked like being caught, cornering superbly through the technical final kilometres and he won the race with a comfortable margin from Arndt. 

Keukeliere (Orica-Scott) won the sprint for third after narrowly edging out breakaway specialist Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal).

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