Boasson Hagan take his first Tour de France stage win in six years
The 104th edition of the Tour de France is nearing its conclusion. The longest stage of this year’s tour proved no match for Norweigan rider, Edvald Boasson Hagan. The Team Dimension Data rider crossed the line five seconds ahead of Nikias Arndt. Dimension Data haven’t had the best of Grand Tours, losing Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw in the process.
The French media have been voicing their frustrations about a lack of action from three times Champion and race leader, Chris Froome. Unless they have missed him, he is the man in yellow. When Froome accelerated away from Bradley Wiggins on La Toussuire in 2012, the World of Cycling witnessed a rider coming of age, a rider who had evolved from the young kid crashing on a U23 time trial, to a maturing rider, able to attack the big guns at the end of a viciously painful stage.
Widely regarded as the strongest team, questions were raised about the level of harmony in the Team Sky camp and Sir Dave Brailsford had one or two choice words for sections of the media. The sceptics will say that Froome has had an easy time of it in 2017. Such negative thinking should be parked where it belongs, in the deleted items box. Froome may not ride with the savagery of Eddie Merckx but he’s earned the respect he deserves, a three-time Tour de France winner, and possibly a fourth. Froome, like all 198 starters at this year’s Tour de France deserves respect for what they do. Michal Kwiatkowski’s deliberate action to stop on stage 18 underlines just how far riders are prepared to push their bodies to the limit. To suggest that Froome has had it easy is absurd, nobody predicted that he would go into stage 20 with an advantage of 23 seconds.
Team Sunweb can be rightly proud of their achievements, riding into Paris, Warren Barguil will wear the polka dot jersey and team mate Michael Matthews will wear the green jersey. Both Matthews and Barguil have ridden without fear throughout the tour.
Tomorrow’s time-trial is the penultimate stage of what has been an eventful Grand Tour. A final chance presents itself for Froome to win a stage, avoiding the tag of becoming the 7th Tour de France winner not to have won one. The last being Óscar Pereiro in 2006 (Floyd Landis was disqualified). It’s not a done deal for Froome, he is, however, the favourite of the GC contenders for stage 20. Rigoberto Uran is the rider most likely to challenge Froome for the stage win. 60,000 fans will pack out The Stade Vélodrome tomorrow.
- Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor/Dimension Data)
- Nikias Arndt (Ger/Team Sunweb)
- Jens Keukeleire (Bel/Orica-Scott)
- Daniele Bennati (Ita/Movistar)
- Thomas de Gendt (Bel/Lotto Soudal)
- Sylvain Chavanel (Fra/Direct Energie)
- Elie Gesbert (Fra/Fortuneo-Oscaro)
- Jan Bakelants (Bel/AG2R La Mondiale)
- Michael Albasini (Swi/Orica-Scott)
- Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fra/Fortuneo-Oscaro)
- Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky)
- Romain Bardet (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale) +23secs
- Rigoberto Uran (Col/Cannondale-Drapac) +29secs
- Mikel Landa (Spa/Team Sky) +1min 36secs
- Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana) +1min 55secs
- Dan Martin (Ire/Quick-Step Floors) 2mins 56secs
- Simon Yates (GB/Orica-Scott) 4mins 46secs
- Louis Meintjes (SA/Team UAE Emirates) +6mins 52secs
- Warren Barguil (Fra/Team Sunweb) +8mins 22secs
- Alberto Contador (Spa/Trek-Segafredo) +8mins 34secs