Edvald Boasson Hagen made it four in a row today winning the sprint for the stage from Frome to Bideford in the West Country, his soon to be team team principal, Dave Brailsford must be hugging himself in anticipation at the prospect of what the young Norwegian rider will be capable of next season in Team Sky colours.
As it is his, and more precisely his Columbia HTC team are so dominant that the organisers may well be forced to have a word with young Edvald about the importance of sharing and letting the other kids have a go. This time out Columbia left it late only catching the break with 1.5Km to go on the other hand once the catch was made the result was pretty much a foregone conclusion with the Columbia train out-powering their Cervelo counterparts to deliver their man safely to the line in first place and, thanks to the time bonuses for the win, to an extended lead in the overall competition.
The day started with the biggest crowds of this year's Tour so far to see the riders of from the Somerset town of Frome – appetites were no doubt whetted by the previous night's Frome Velojam which by all accounts was a well attended and exciting affair. Once it had established itself the day's main break had a strongly British flavour withGeraint Thomas, Ben Swift and Ian Stannard accompanied by soon-to-be Sky rider Serge Pauwels and, after a couple of day's rest, Thomas De Gendt doing what he does best, his reward for another day in the break was to win, barring accidents the King of the Mountains competition with two days of racing still to come.
However, the break never got far enough down the road to pose a real threat of staying away for the day, and given the time gap it was a real achievement for them to stay out as long as they did - with 10Km to go they were only 40 seconds to the good and the peloton was being driven on by the powerful Columbia and Cervelo teams both wanting the day to end in a sprint.
As it turned out, Cervelo probably wanted it just that touch too much an ended up giving Boasson Hagen "a nice leadout" in the final 500m" Afterwards Boasson Hagen said: “I was quite confident the whole stage, except with ten kilometres to go, but then we got some help from some other guys and brought them back.
“It’s never boring to win stages, so I’m really happy that I can win again. The team was working very hard today, as there was a strong group in front so it was hard to close it out.”
Tomorrow's stage takes the racers from on a 160Km jaunt throught the West Country again from Hatherly to Yeovil, maybe Boasson Hagen will give someone else a chance, but don't count on it.
Top 20 Tour of Britain Stage 6
1) Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia – HTC) 4:05:20 2) Martin Reimer (Cervelo Test Team) 3) Russell Downing (Candi TV- Pinarello RT) 4) Koldo Fernandez (Euskaltel - Euskadi) 5) Pierpaolo De Negri (ISD-Neri) 6) Michele Merlo (Barloworld) 7) Christopher Sutton (Garmin - Slipstream) 8) Reinier Honig (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team) 9) Alan Marangoni (CSF Group - Navigare) 10) Davide Appollonio (Cervelo Test Team) 11) Alexander Kristoff (Joker Bianchi) 12) Federico Canuti (CSF Group - Navigare) 13) Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) 14) Kristian House (Rapha Condor) 15) Andrew Tennant (Team Halfords) 16) Malcolm Elliott (Candi TV- Pinarello RT) 17) Daniel Lloyd (Cervelo Test Team) 18) Graeme Brown (Rabobank) 19) Kai Reus (Rabobank) 20)Domenico Pozzovivo (CSF Group – Navigare)
Top 10 on General Classification after Stage 6
1) Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia - HTC) 22:17:17 2) Kai Reus (Rabobank) 0:00:19 3) Martin Reimer (Cervelo Test Team) 0:00:21 4) Christopher Sutton (Garmin - Slipstream) 0:00:24 5) Russell Downing (Candi TV- Pinarello RT) 0:00:35 6) Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) 0:00:36 7) Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritube) l 0:00:40 8) Simon Clarke (ISD-Neri) 9) Reinier Honig (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team) 0:00:42 10) Serge Pauwels (Cervelo Test Team) 11) Rob Ruygh (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team)
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.