Le Tour: Second win for Edvald Boasson Hagen

Stage 17. Team Sky’s Nowegian rider, Edvald Boasson Hagen, for the second day in a row made the break of the day and this time stepped up a place to win his second stage of the race. In the race for the overall, yellow jersey Thomas Voeckler lost almost half a minute to the GC contenders including Cadel Evans, one of the favourites now for the jersey.

With the Tour de France nearing its end as well as the crucial part of the race with the big mountain stage set to come on stage 18, the course for stage 17 was mountainous but still a day for a break and so it proved.

The stage saw 170 riders still in the race and heading for Italy where the finish was at the bottom of the steepest and most technical descent of the three week race so far. Very quickly, a break with 20 plus riders tried to go clear and its numbers were quickly reduced as Sky’s Boassan Hagen and Sanchez from Rabobank made the move.

For a while it looked as though that move would stay clear as chases came and went including one from yesterday’s winner Hushovd and Ireland’s Nicholas Roche. The break though was pulled back and from its ashes came another including Boassan Hagen.

There was still 120 kilometres to race and the break was soon carving out a good lead; three minutes and that continued to grow to over seven. In weather conditions that were a total contrast to the day before with short sleeved jerseys the order of the day rather than rain capes, the break continued to work hard to build a gap big enough to see them stay away from the peloton.

Back in said peloton at the intermediate sprint, Cavendish showed just how much the Green jersey means by sprinting for one point and getting it. With a lot of climbing packed into the back end of the stage before the long descent to the final climb at Pramartino, nine k from the finish, there were a lot of restless legs in the break, especially those belonging to Perez.

He tried to go it alone before Chavanel and that man  Boassan Hagen got in on the action with the Sky rider not taking any chances today and he distanced Chavanel and went off in search of his second stage win and what a win it was for the Norwegian. Back in the peloton though, the yellow jersey group with Voeckler  was losing riders as the GC riders went into battle. As ever, it was Contador who was intent on putting clean air between himself and the likes of the Schlecks and Evans. He succeeded for a while on a descent that saw a many a rider go off course including the yellow jersey.

Contador’s dare devil antics that saw the peloton spread out all over that final tricky descent did not however reap any reward for him outside of distancing Voeckler. Both the Schlecks and Evans made it back to his back wheel by the finish and the scene is set for the big stage on Thursday where the eventual winner of the Tour de France should become a lot clearer.

Edvald Boasson Hagen: “It was a really great day today. I felt a bit disappointed yesterday to not win. I really wanted the win today and I did everything I could to get into the break again. My team-mates did a great job to help me get into it. It was really hard to get away in the group as riders were chasing behind. Finally we made it away and I was feeling great the whole day.”

“I really wanted to win so I got some extra power from that and also from all the Norwegian fans out on the course. It’s so nice to win. We did the route in training earlier on this year and I was thinking about this stage. I had a plan and everything was perfect. The race goes into some really hard stages now so I will try to save my legs for the time trial (on Saturday).”

Sean Yates, Team Sky Sports Director: “That was a top notch performance from Eddy and from the team. He has the legs, he showed that yesterday. Today he won with his legs as well as his head.

“He was very motivated. After yesterday he was a bit peeved about the result but there was nothing he could do about that. But regardless today he made amends. It was a big result.”

“It was a pretty gnarly descent at the end there. The boys have done it in training. Edvald looked at it this morning on the laptop as we had a film. But Edvald is not afraid, he is a superb bike-handler. It was a formality for him once he got over the top they were never going to bring him back unless he crashed.”

“The team worked better than anybody to be in that breakaway. They were the definition of a team, with everyone helping each other out and motivating each other. G was up there in an early break with Eddy that Garmin chased down for a long, long time. But Eddy really had the bit between his teeth today and there was no stopping him basically.”

Twitter Highlights:

Mark Cavendish “Oops, said #shit again on live TV. Thank god it was ITV. If it was BBC, there’d probably be a campaign for me to lose my British citizenship. Well, 1 less Alpine stage before Paris. Just 300 more mountainous kilometres! Then timetrial. Worried about doing 40km there WITHOUT Bernie!”

David Millar: “QUOTE OF THE DAY – JV: ‘Ok guys, let’s wait a little longer till we start to panic.”

Previous Stages
STAGE 1 | STAGE 2 | STAGE 3 | STAGE 4 |  STAGE 5 | STAGE 6 | STAGE 7 | STAGE 8 | STAGE 9 | STAGE 10 |
| STAGE 11 | STAGE 12 | STAGE 13 | STAGE 14 | STAGE 15 | STAGE 16 |


Results Stage 17
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sky
2. Bauke Mollema, Rabobank  @40
3. Sandy Casar, FDJ @50
4. Julien El Fares, Cofidis
5. Sylvain Chavanel, Quickstep
6. Dmitriy Fofonov, Astana @1:10
7. Maciej Paterski, Liquigas-Cannondale
8. Dmitriy Muravyev, Team RadioShack
9. Jonathan Hivert, Saur – Sojasun @1.15
10. Borut Bozic,Vacansoleil + 02′ 20″

Key Others
14. Nicolos Rioche, AG2R @4.00
17. Frank Schleck, Leopard-Trek @4.26
20. Cadel Evans, BMC @st
22. Alberto Contador, Saxo Bank @st
28.  Thomas Voeckler, Europcar @4.53
70. Geraint Thomas,Sky Procycling
154. Ben Swift, Sky Procycling
165. David Millar, Team Garmin-Cervelo
166. Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad

1 Thomas Voeckler, Europcar
2 Cadel Evans, BMC @1:18
3 Fränk Schleck, Leopard Trek @1:22
4 Andy Schleck,Leopard Trek @2:36
5 Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi @2:59
6 Alberto Contador, Saxo Bank Sungard @3:15
7 Damiano Cunego, Lampre – ISD @3:34
8 Ivan Basso, Liquigas-Cannondale @3:49
9 Thomas Danielson, Garmin-Cervelo @6:04
10 Rigoberto Uran, Sky Procycling @7:36

41. Geraint Thomas, Sky Procycling     0:43:43
65. David Millar, Team Garmin-Cervelo     1:14:10
124. Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad     2:10:00
132. Ben Swift, Sky Procycling     2:14:23

1. Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad     320      pts
2. Jose Joaquin Rojas, Movistar Team     285
3. Philippe Gilbert, Omega Pharma-Lotto     250

White Jersey
1. Rigoberto Uran, Sky

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