After two second-place finishes, Edvald Boasson Hagen finally got a stage victory at the Tour de France.
The Norwegian caught the right breakaways on the longest stage and used all of his guile and strength to hold off chasers in the final section on Friday.
Boasson Hagen was part of a 20-man group that Chris Froome and Team Sky gave freedom to escape from the peloton because none of them presented a threat to his overall lead.
At the finish in Salon-de Provence, Boasson Hagen went right around a roundabout while others went left. His route proved shorter. That small lead and his strength on the flat made him uncatchable.
Froome's group, which included the main race contenders, was still riding as Boasson Hagen celebrated his win. The peloton eventually rolled in at a leisurely place more than 12 minutes after Boasson Hagen claimed the first stage win for the Dimension Data team at this tour.
The overall standings remained unchanged, with Froome still leading French rider Romain Bardet by 23 seconds and Rigoberto Uran of Colombia by 29 seconds.
With no major difficulties, the 222.5-kilometer (138-mile) Stage 19 offered no real opportunity for Froome's rivals to claw back time. Instead, they and Froome settled for a quiet ride while the 20 in front hunted the stage victory.
Date created : 2017-07-21