Round­about springs Ha­gen to stage win

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By John Le­ices­ter Bryn Len­non, Getty Im­ages

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.

Arndt placed sec­ond, five sec­onds back.

Third-placed Jens Keukeleire was among those who went left around the round­about in the last two miles and im­me­di­ately re­al­ized their mis­take, as Boas­son Ha­gen mo­tored away.

“That’s when it struck me: We should have taken right,” Keukeleire said. “He’s one of those riders, give him 10 meters and he’s gone.”

It was Boas­son Ha­gen’s third ca­reer stage win at the Tour, af­ter his first two in 2011. He said he’d stud­ied the fin­ish and iden­ti­fied the short cut.

“I was hunt­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties, and then the round­about ar­rived,” he said. “I un­der­stood that go­ing right would be quicker.”

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 on the time trial on Satur­day in Mar­seille that will de­ter­mine the podium or­der be­fore the race ends on Sun­day.

Froome’s group was still rid­ing as Boas­son Ha­gen cel­e­brated his win. The pelo­ton even­tu­ally rolled in more than 12 min­utes af­ter Boas­son Ha­gen claimed the first stage win for the Di­men­sion Data team at this tour.

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