Edvald Boasson Hagen takes GP Ouest France with late attack
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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Edvald Boasson Hagen takes GP Ouest France with late attack

by Ben Atkins at 10:58 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Norwegian champion catches and drops Rui Costa in final kilometres to win WorldTour race alone

edvald boasson hagen Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) showed his versatility as he foiled the rest of the peloton’s fastmen with a late attack to win the Grand Prix Ouest France-Plouay. The Norwegian champion managed to bridge across to a lone breakaway from Rui Costa (Movistar), who had escaped on the final climb of the Côte de Ty-Marrec with six kilometres to go; after taking a few moments to recover, Boasson Hagen jumped away from the Portuguese rider, shortly before the final kilometre and rode on alone to take the victory.

Despite sitting up in the final metres, Costa held on to take second place, ahead of Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Sharp), who led home the charging peloton.

“I'm really happy with that and it was nice to get the win today,” said Boasson Hagen. “The team did a really good job to keep me up there all day and heading into the finish.
“I was riding a lot in the bunch with Thomas [Löfkvist] and Christian [Knees] who helped me out a lot,” he explained. “I felt good when I jumped clear and I felt confident that I could take the win.
“The whole team did lots of pulling on the front during the day so it was great to be able to finish it off,” Boasson Hagen added. “It has been quite a while since my last victory so it was nice to see the form is good. Hopefully it can continue.”

The hilly Breton race, which was made up of nine laps of a 27km circuit, was characterised, unusually, by three separate breakaways, with the last of these coming with just over one lap to go. It was instigated by 2007 race winner Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), and the former French champion was joined by Cyril Lemoine and Jérôme Coppel (both Saur-Sojasun), Ben Hermans (RadioShack-Nissan), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha) and Tom-Jelte Slagter (Rabobank).

The peloton never allowed this group more than 20 seconds however, and Marco Pinotti (BMC Racing), Jérémie Galland (Saur-Sojasun) and Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) bridged across in the final 15km of the stage. Coppel, Galland, Martinez and Voeckler were the last men standing into the final, rolling ten kilometres, but they too were pulled back with seven to go.

Costa attacked as soon as the Ty-Marrec began and, despite many riders trying to join him on the steep climb, was several seconds clear over the top. Boasson Hagen attacked across the gap however and, after catching his breath on the Portuguese rider’s wheel, jumped away with just over a kilometre to go.

The Norwegian champion then soloed to victory, with Costa just holding off Haussler on the line.

The early break gets caught too early and several others follow

On a new, longer, and tougher 27km circuit, the initial breakaway group of Julien Berard (AG2R La Mondiale), Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ-BigMat), Anthony Charteau (Europcar), Pierre Cazaux (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Laurent Mangel (Saur-Sojasun) and Laurent Pichon (Bretagne-Schuller) escaped in the first lap. The six riders were almost ten minutes clear as they finished the second of the nine circuits, before the sprinters’ teams began to pull them back.

The chase was seemingly misjudged by the peloton however, and the break was caught with almost 90km still to race. This was far to long to be kept under control, and so Vincent Jérome (Europcar), Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Marcus Burghardt (BMC Racing), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Katusha), Takashi Miyazawa (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), Sébastien Duret (Bretagne-Schuller), Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis) and Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano) promptly counterattacked.

The new, eight-man group was only able to get a maximum of 1’45” clear and, with two two laps to go were just 1’35” ahead. Team Sky was leading the chase, but Astana and RadioShack-Nissan came forward to lend a hand.

With 50km to go, the attacks began in the lead group began, which saw Damuseau and Jerome dropped; Miyazawa also dropped off the pace and drifted back but, with 40km to go, the lead of the remaining five was just 30 seconds.

Taaramäe tried to go alone, but the peloton was catching them on the Côte de Ty-Marrec climb with 32km to go, where a number of riders - including Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) tried to counterattack. Near the top Voeckler attacked, and was followed by Lemoine, then Hermans and Vorganov managed to get across.

Voeckler attacked the other three across the finish line though, to take the bell to announce the final lap. Slagter and Coppel attacked across to the three chasers with 24km to go, and the five-man group caught up with Voeckler a kilometre later. The break was in sight of the peloton however, and with 21km to go, only had a lead of ten seconds.

As the peloton got closer Lemoine and Vorganov left the others behind with 19km to go, but they were chased down shortly afterwards as riders jumped across the gap.

Pinotti, Martinez and Galland managed to get up to the leaders, and Martinez and Galland managed to get away with Coppel and Voeckler. They managed to pull open a 20 second lead inside the final ten kilometres but with RadioShack-Nissan and Vacansoleil-DCM leading the chase, they were eventually pulled back with seven to go.

Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank led the race as it approached the Ty-Marrec for the last time, but Costa attacked as soon as the climb began and managed to force a small gap. The Portuguese rider was chased by 2009 winner Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge), but the Australian champion couldn’t break the elastic and Costa continued alone.

Over the top he had a considerable lead, as the shattered peloton tried to reorganise behind him, but Boasson Hagen managed to attack across the gap, and joined the Movistar rider with two kilometres to go.

After a brief rest, where Costa looked at the Norwegian champion to ask him to come through and work, Boasson Hagen attacked and, with one kilometre to go, managed to jump clear. Down the final descent to the line Costa tried to claw his way back up but Boasson Hagen had plenty of time to sit up and celebrate his victory.

Costa sat up in the knowledge that he wasn’t going to catch the Norwegian, but held on to take second place ahead of Haussler at the head of the peloton.

Result Grand Prix Ouest France-Plouay
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky
2. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar Team @ 5s
3. Heinrhch Haussler (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
4. Matt Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
5. Jürgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
6. Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
8. Borut Božič (Slo) Team Astana
9. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis
10. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team


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