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Edvald Boasson Hagen wins Stage 19 of the 2017 Tour de France as Froome remains in Yellow

Peter Stuart
21 Jul 2017

Edvald Boasson Hagen stuns with a fantastic solo effort to take the day on Stage 19

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) was first to the finish into Salon-de-Provence on Stage 19 of the 2017 Tour de France, with a fantastic solo attack on the day's successful break of 20 riders. Chris Froome finished safely in the pack and retaining the yellow jersey.

The last 5km was a series of back to back attacks that looked sure to drop the Norwegian champion, but Boassan Hagen showed fantasticly strong form in fending off the attacks and sticking up with the front group.

The pack of 20 had whittled down to only 8 when Boassan Hagen made a late solo effort with only 2.7m to go. He brought Nikias Arndt (Sunweb) with him, but the Norwegian dropped him in the final 2km for a decisive run in to the finish.

Further back the pack, the group came in without incident, placing Froome in good position to fight for his yellow jersey in tomorrow's time trial as the top of the general classification remained unchanged.

How the race unfolded

A break was always the likely source of drama for the day, and numerous riders felt pressure to be involved to eek out some final exposure from the race.

The first attack came from Guillaume van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), who stayed away for 200km on Stage 4 into Vittel. His attack today was quickly reeled back in, and a series of subsequent attacks began.

A group of Adrien Petit (Direct Energie), Michael Albasini (Orica) and van Keirsbulck (Wanty) grew to around 10 riders, but it was all brought back together on Category 3 climb of Col Lebraut.

With 190km to go, Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) and Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Oscaro) attacked off the front, which seemed doomed to failure until a large batch of riders bridged across, including some big names and it seemed to have sticking power.

With Sky allowing the riders some room, a break of 20 riders began to stretch out.  The group contained  Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale), Daniele Bennati (Movistar), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Ben Swift (UAE), Rudy Molard (FDJ), Michael Albasini and Jens Keukeleire (Orica), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), Gianluca Brambilla (Quick Step), Robert Kiserlovski (Katusha), Thomas De Gendt and Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Nikias Arndt (Sunweb), Julien Simon (Cofidis), Lilian Calmejane, Sylvain Chavanel and Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Elie Gesbert, Romain Hardy and Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fortuneo-Oscaro).

With 170km to go, the break stretched a lead out to 5.40 seconds, shortly before a puncture threatened to eject British Ben Swift from the group. He managed to chase back and the gap grew and grew.

With 14 of the Tour’s 22 teams, it was a break which was readily accepted by the majority of the peloton and grew to 8 minutes with 125km to go

With a short chase by Team Sky, the gap was briefly brought down to near 7 minutes, but after a second intermediate sprint – won by Thomas de Gendt as was the first – the gap extended out again.

At 65m to go, the break had stretched its lead to 8.30, and Sky were showing little interest in bringing it back and it looked sure to stick to the finish.

The Category 3 Col de Pointu, 5.8km long and at a mild 4.1% average, did little to slow the progress of the break, which went over the top 9 minutes ahead of the yellow jersey.

The Final

With 30km remaining, the break was just short of 10 minutes ahead and it was clear that the winner would be from this 20-strong group. All eyes were on Bauke Mollema for an attack coming into the last 20km, otherwise Boasson Hagen or Swift seemed the likely sprint winners.

In the last 20km a very fast pace from the break split the group into three pieces, with Ben Swift sitting in the second group, while Boasson Hagen remained ahead.

The three groups rode fiercely at nearly 60kmh on the shallow descent of the final 15km, as a 15-second gap emerged between the front group and chasers.

Leading up to the final 5km, there were numerous attacks from within the leading group, several of which threatened to further fragment it.

The final 5km made for a blisteringly quick run in with attack after attack. Boasson Hagen held onto the group through impressive tenacity, as Thomas de Gendt made a concerted attack that threatened to stick.

Boasson Hagen held on, and when he attacked from the 8 strong group, thinks looked good for the Norwegian.

Tour de France 2017: Stage 19, Embrun - Salon-de-Provence (222.5km), result

1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data, in 5:06:09
2. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb, at 0:05
3. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott, at 0:17
4. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar, at same time
5. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal, st
6. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie, st
7. Elie Gesbert (Fra) Fortuneo-Oscaro, st
8. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Ag2r La Mondiale, st
9. Michael Albasini (Sui) Orica-Scott, at 0:19
10. Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Fortuneo–Oscaro, at 1:32

Tour de France 2017: General classification top 10 after Stage 19

1. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, in 83:26:55
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale, at 0:23 
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac, at 0:29 
4. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky, at 1:36
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, at 1:55
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors, at 2:56
7. Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott, at 4:46
8. Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates, at 6:52
9. Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb, at 8:22
10. Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo, at 8:34