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June 9, 2016 – Edvald Boasson Hagen stormed to victory in a thrilling bunch sprint on stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine on Thursday, after a flat but windy 176km run from Tain L’Hermitage to Belley.
It was also a good day for Tour de France champion Chris Froome who gained nine seconds on overall leader Alberto Contador and leapfrogged Richie Porte into second place.
“This is an important race for me. The Dauphine is an important race in its own right,” said Froome, who won this race twice before and went on to win the Tour de France in both those seasons.
“Yes, it’s the last race for me in the build-up before the Tour, but it’s important in its own right.”
Norway’s Boasson Hagen held off French pair Julian Alaphilippe and Nacer Bouhanni in third to wrench the overall sprint points leader’s green jersey from Bouhanni.
Belley-born Maxime Bouet of Etixx-Quick Step led a three-man escape from early on and eventually launched a doomed final assault for victory from 13km out His solo effort was reeled in on the streets of his hometown with 3km to go and as the sprint teams raised the tempo and jostled for position there was a moment of panic in the speeding peloton.
Borut Bozic of Cofidis and Alexis Gougeard of Ag2r-La Mondiale hit the tarmac hard as the former’s bike flew into the air and shot the peloton into splinters.
Overall race leader Contador maintained his lead but lost nine seconds to Froome who is four seconds back in the overall standings and who climbed to second ahead of Porte at six seconds. Apart from the fall, Thursday was a day for the GC contenders to relax in the peloton ahead of three days in the mountains where the winner will place himself as favourite to win July’s Tour de France.
On Friday, the race continues with a 140km run to a summit finish at the Alpine ski station at Vaujany, which culminates with a 6.4km climb at a 6.5 percent gradient.
Results Stage 4:
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data 4:39:26
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
4. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
6. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
7. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge
8. John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
9. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 18
10. Luka Pibernik (Slo) Lampre – Merida
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team 17:52:45
2. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:04
3. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:06
4. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:09
5. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:12
6. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:27
7. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge 0:00:31
8. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:35
9. Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:43
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:48