Critérium du Dauphiné: Boasson Hagen takes stage three after frenetic final kilometres
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Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Critérium du Dauphiné: Boasson Hagen takes stage three after frenetic final kilometres

by Ben Atkins at 9:12 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Critérium du Dauphiné
 
Late attack chased down at the end of a largely uneventful day

edvald boasson hagenEdvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) sprinted to his biggest victory of the season at the end of the third stage of the 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné, between Ambérieu-en-Bugey and Tarare. The Norwegian champion was carried through the complicated final kilometre by his teammates, after having chased down a late attack from Bart De Clercq (Lotto-Belisol) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), then launched towards the line in the last hundred metres.

Having launched his sprint from third wheel Boasson Hagen was able to hold off the attentions of Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) all the way to the line, with the Australian just able to get his front wheel alongside Boasson Hagen’s rear wheel as the Norwegian lifted his right arm to celebrate the victory. Having finished second on both of the preceding stages, Belgian Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) had to be content with third this time.

"It’s been a team’s performance in the last climb and the last kilometre where Peter Kennaugh and at the end Geraint Thomas led me out,” said Boasson Hagen afterwards. “The chase down the hill was excellent. I’m grateful to the team. They’ve been amazing.

“It’s very nice to win at the Dauphiné again,’ the Norwegian continued, having taken his third stage win in the last four editions. “I’m really happy. In stage one, I just didn’t have the legs for climbing. It takes a while to get used to the mountains. Now I feel good. My form is coming at the right time. It’s great for my morale to come up with a stage win at the Dauphiné again.

“I’m ready to switch my focus to my other job helping Chris Froome,” Boasson Hagen added. “Our main goal at Team Sky remains the yellow jersey."

The 167km was otherwise a largely uneventful affair, as Sander Cordeel (Lotto-Belisol), Fumiyuki Beppu (Orica-GreenEdge), Jacob Rathe (Garmin-Sharp) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) escaped in the opening kilometres and allowed to build up a lead of almost seven minutes in the first 20km.

The group was then kept under control by the Europcar team of race leader David Veilleux, before being steadily pulled back by Omega Pharma-Quick Step. Cordeel managed to escape the group inside the final 20km, as the peloton was on its heels, but the Belgian was finally caught on the early slopes of the 3rd category Col des Sauvages, with just over 13km to go.

There then followed a number of attacks, from Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) with Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and from Laurent Didier (RadioShack-Leopard), but with 11.5km to go Bart De Clercq (Lotto-Belisol) successfully got away and was 12 seconds clear over the top of the climb with 9.5km left.

On the descent that followed the Belgian rider was joined by Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), but there was nothing the duo could do to hold off the chase from Team Sky and they too were caught inside the final two kilometres.

Having chased down the late breakaway Team Sky kept control of the peloton into the finishing straight, where Boasson Hagen was launched to his first WorldTour victory of the season.

Having had his team control the peloton for much of the day, Veilleux finished safely in the peloton behind Boasson Hagen, with his 1’56” lead over Meersman in the general classification intact.

Four get away as the peloton decides to take it easy

As soon as the flag had been dropped Beppu - resident of nearby Lyon - attacked, along with Cordeel, Rathe and Flecha and, with no reaction from the peloton, were 6’50” ahead after just 20km. The quartet managed to cover 42.7km in the first hour over the predominantly flat parcours, before Europcar organised itself on the front of the peloton and stabilised the gap.

With only Flecha of any immediate danger to Veilleux, the French team was in no hurry to close down the four riders and, at the stage’s halfway point, they still led by 5’40”. As the leaders began to climb the 3rd category Col des Echarmeaux, with 58km to go,the gap was down to 4’10”. It was not falling quickly enough for Omega Pharma-Quick Step and FDJ, however, who both came forward to help set the pace, and the peloton began to speed up.

Flecha led the break over the top of the climb, with 47.5km to go, with the peloton now just 1’45” behind and, after the long, steady descent that followed, the gap dropped below one minute with 36km left. The chase then relaxed a little, and it was still 55 seconds as Flecha outsprinted Beppu to take the intermediate sprint, in Cublize with 25.5km to go.

NetApp-Endura came forward to help Omega Pharma-Quick Step and FDJ into the final 20km, cutting the gap to just 30 seconds. At the 17.5km point, with the lead just 20 seconds Cordeel attacked the break, and Rathe gave chase as the other two dropped back.

Team Sky came to the front of the peloton as it caught Beppu on the approach to the start of the Col des Sauvages. Flecha chased up to Rathe’s wheel, but the two of them were also picked up by the peloton shortly afterwards, while Cordeel was still 17 seconds ahead as he entered the final 15km.

British champion Ian Stannard (Team Sky) then ramped up the pace sharply as the climb began, stringing out the peloton, and Cordeel found himself swept up with just over 13km to go.

Counterattacks begin on the final climb but nobody’s going to deny the sprinters

Almost immediately Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) attacked, and was followed by Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), but the Frenchman did little more than mark the Dutchman and they were soon pulled back. As the rest of the peloton made it across to them Chavanel continued to set the pace, with groups of riders now being shelled out the back.

Despite the Omega Pharma-Quick Step pace, however, Laurent Didier (RadioShack-Leopard) attacked with just under two kilometres to climb and managed to force himself clear. The Luxemburger was only able to get a few seconds clear and, a kilometre later, De Clercq jumped up to him and rode by.

Team Sky then took control of the chase again, soon sweeping up Didier, but De Clercq was 12 seconds clear as he crossed the top of the climb with 9.5km to go. Team Sky kept up the pace of the pursuit on the descent, along with Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Movistar and Saxo-Tinkoff, but the lone Belgian was holding them off as he was able to pick his own line down the winding road.

With five kilometres to go De Clercq was still six seconds ahead, as Omega Pharma-Quick Step pulled clear of the front of the peloton in pursuit. The XXX joined up with the Lotto-Belisol rider with 3.3km left and they began to work together. The road was beginning to level out, however, and Team Sky was pulling the peloton closer.

With two kilometres to go the two riders were barely ahead of the Team Sky chase and, as they looked at one another, they sat up and allowed themselves to be caught. BMC Racing then took over the front of the peloton, leading into the final kilometre.

Team Sky and Omega Pharma-Quick Step soon took over again, however, with Geraint Thomas leading Boasson Hagen into the finishing straight and, once the Norwegian champion opened up his sprint, neither Matthews nor Meersman could come around him.

Result stage 3
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
4. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
6. Reinhardt Janse van Rensberg (RSA) Argos-Shimano
7. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ
8. Paul Voss (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura
9. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
10. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Team Astana

Standings after stage 3
1. David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar
2. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 1’56”
3. Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Leopard @ 1’57”
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
5. Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Team Astana
7. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
8. Angel Madrazo (Spa) Movistar Team
9. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky
10. Alberto Contador (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff

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