Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) continued his fine form this season with victory on the slightly-uphill sprint finish on stage 4 of the Critérium du Dauphiné.
The Norwegian came into the race with five victories – along with fifth at Paris-Roubaix – and punched the air in delight as he got the better of Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) to make it six.
The 176km route from Tain-l’Hermitage to Belley was largely flat, save for two fourth-category climbs, but the road began to rise in the final kilometre and Boasson Hagen took full advantage. Once round the final bend, he profited from the lack of coherent leadout trains and launched from range.
Only Alaphilippe – the young Frenchman who continues to demonstrate the diversity and depth of his talents – and stage 2 winner Bouhanni could get close, with Jens Debuscherre (Lotto Soudal), Greg van Avermaet (BMC) and Sam Dumoulin (AG2R La Mondiale) coming home a couple of bike lengths behind. John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) was eighth and Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18) ninth, while Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) – second on stage 3 – finished outside the top 10, as he did on stage 2.
“In the finale I had to go from far. Everyone was getting tired and I managed to stay ahead,” said Boasson Hagen. “I’m very happy. It was the last opportunity for riders like me and I really wanted to do well today. It’s been a great season so far and I’m getting better and better towards the Tour de France.
“It’s nice to get a win for Dimension Data. It gives me an opportunity to send my best wishes to [Dimension Data continental team rider] Keagan Girdlestone [who had a life threatening crash on Sunday in Italy] for his recovery.”
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