Norwegian does homework, wins Tour stage
SALON-DE-PROVENCE, France — Edvald Boasson Hagen showed that brawn and speed don’t guarantee victory at the Tour de France. Winners do their homework, too.
Going right around a roundabout while others took the left and longer route proved to be the key that enabled the Norwegian to finally win a stage at this Tour on Friday after two second-place finishes.
Only Boasson Hagen and Nikias Arndt took the shorter route. The Norwegian then eliminated the German rider with a burst of acceleration and sped to the line in Salon-de Provence.
Arndt placed second, five seconds back.
Third-placed Jens Keukeleire was among those who went left around the roundabout in the last 2 miles and immediately realized their mistake, as Boasson Hagen motored away.
It was Boasson Hagen’s third career stage victory at the Tour, after his first two in 2011. He said he’d studied the finish and identified the short cut.
Riding at a leisurely pace far behind them, race leader Chris Froome and other top contenders for the yellow jersey were happy to let others contest the victory on the Tour’s longest stage.
Boasson Hagen was part of a 20-man group that Froome and Team Sky gave freedom to escape from the peloton because none of them presented a threat to his overall lead. After two energy-sapping days of climbs in the high Alps, Froome and his rivals had their sights set instead on the time trial today in Marseille that will determine the podium order before the race ends in Paris on Sunday.
Froome’s group was still riding as Boasson Hagen celebrated his victory. The peloton eventually rolled in more than 12 minutes after Boasson Hagen’s victory.
The overall standings remained unchanged at the top, with Froome leading French rider Romain Bardet by 23 seconds and Rigoberto Uran of Colombia by 29 seconds.