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.
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)
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)
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.