Stage 2 of the Criterium du Dauphine ended in a mass bunch sprint which Arnaud Demare (FDJ) won from Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis). Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had Edvald Boasson Hagen finish in 6th place.
The second stage of the Criterium du Dauphine took riders from Saint-Chamond to Erlond and on paper, the stage was touted to be one for the sprinters. 4 riders made up the break of the day but Lotto-Soudal did a good job on keeping the gap within the 4-minute mark. On the only category 2 climb of the day Astana brought the gap down to a minute so their rider, Alexey Lutsenko could jump across the gap.
Lutsenko was eventually able to ride away from his breakaway counterparts but with 30km to go, it was our African Team that came to the front of the peloton to lead the chase. A slight climb with 20km to go was where we were hoping to make life difficult for the sprinters in the group but unfortunately the uphill gradient was just not severe enough. Nevertheless, Jay Thomson and Ben O’Connor kept the pressure on at the front and this saw Lutsenko being caught with 3km to go.
After quick hard pulls by Youcef Reguigui and Serge Pauwels, Scott Thwaites piloted Boasson Hagen into the final kilometer where the other sprint teams who had been anonymous all stage came to the fore. Boasson Hagen looked to latch onto the wheel of Demare in the final few meters but Bouhanni gave our Norwegian Champion a nudge toward the barrier which saw him lose the prime position. As the 2 French sprinters opened the sprint against the barrier, Boasson Hagen had no real way of coming through and had to settle for 6th after a good team performance.
Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider
The guys did really well today. The team rode in front, took control and brought back the guy in the front. Everything was perfect until the final sprint. I was a bit blocked and never got to open up properly because I was in the wrong position. Bouhanni came from the inside and pushed me toward the barrier but that is part of sprinting though, to be in the right position. The guys did really well, I am happy with how they went so we will keep trying and hopefully it all comes together for us.