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Norway's Boasson Hagen wins first Alpine stage
Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen picked up his second victory at this year's Tour de France on Wednesday, winning the first of three Alpine stages. France's Thomas Voeckler dropped 27 seconds but held on to the yellow jersey.
AP - Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway won the 17th stage of the Tour de France Wednesday, the first of three in the Alps. Thomas Voeckler held on to the yellow jersey, but lost time after riding off the course on the final descent.
In the race for the overall victory, defending champion Alberto Contador made repeated attempts to get away from his rivals, but was caught on each occasion. He finished in the same time as Cadel Evans, the Schleck brothers and Samuel Sanchez. Voeckler lost 27 seconds and is now 1 minute, 18 seconds ahead of Evans.
Boasson Hagen completed the 179 kilometers (111 miles) across the Alps from Gap to the Italian town of Pinerolo in 4 hours, 18 minutes. Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands was second, 40 seconds back, with Sandy Casar of France winning the sprint for third.
It was the second victory for Boasson Hagen and the fourth for Norway in this year's race. It was also a form of revenge, after he was beaten into second by his compatriot Thor Hushovd on Tuesday. "It was very difficult yesterday, and today I was able to do better,'' said Boasson Hagen.
"I felt I was capable of attacking on the last climb.''Second place went to Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands, after Frenchman Jonathan Hivert crashed on the perilous final descent of the Pramartino. Sandy Casar of France was third, while Hivert got back on his bike and came in ninth.