Boasson Hagen picked his way through the peloton in the sprint to the line to claim the fifth Dauphine stage victory of his career, overtaking Gilbert late to claim the auspicious win in Jussac.
"I am really happy with today's win," said Boasson Hagen. "It has been a while since I have won in the World Tour, so this is great win for me and for Team Dimension Data.
"I was really suffering on the climb, but I managed to stay there in the group while the best sprinters were dropped. That worked out really well for me. I had good speed in the sprint and am just really happy to have won and to take the yellow jersey, even if only for a few days."
Sprinters like Andre Greipel (Arkea-Samsic) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) were dropped during the hilly excursion around the Cantal region in Southern France, leaving the hybrid climber-sprinters to contest the finish after a breakaway of Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale), Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana), Niklas Eg (Trek-Segafredo), Fabien Doubey (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Casper Pedersen (Team Sunweb) and Julien Vermote (Dimension Data) was brought back late in proceedings.
Cort and Naesen were joined by a late attack from Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto Soudal) with the trio threatening to hold off the charging peloton as they were hauled back with just 600 metres remaining in the race.
Boasson Hagen had to time his final surge perfectly and while others like Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida) got shunted and bumped in the run to the line, the Norwegian was able to pick a clean line and take a convincing win.
The Criterium du Dauphine is broadcast live on SBS, with Stage 2 LIVE on SBS VICELAND and streaming on Cycling Central and SBS OndDemand from 11.05 PM AEST Monday 10 June.