After what has been probably the most difficult week in our African Team’s history, with our young continental rider Keagan Girdlestone having a life threatening crash in Italy on Sunday, Edvald Boasson Hagen gave the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka family reason to smile again. Boasson Hagen won stage 4 of the Criterium du Dauphine with a powerful sprint into Belley.
The 4th stage of the Criterium du Dauphine got off to somewhat of a slow start due to a stern headwind hindering the riders. This didn’t stop 3 riders from attacking just as the flag dropped at kilometer zero. Maxime Bouet (Etixx-Quickstep), Frederik Veuchelen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Bryan Nauleau (Direct Energie) were the aggressors and they forced out a 5’30” lead over the peloton.
With just 3 riders sharing the workload compared to a number of teams all contributing to the pace setting in the peloton, it was never going to be a day for the break. The inevitable catch took place with just 3km to go and then it was another showdown between the sprint trains. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka again turned to Edvald Boasson Hagen as our African Team tried to keep the Norwegian Champion in a good position for the finale.
Nathan Haas and Youcef Reguigui did a sterling job, ensuring they were there to move Boasson Hagen up at key moments before the sprint. Reguigui narrowly missed a crash with 1.5km to go but Haas and Boasson Hagen were unaffected as the riders made their way under the flamme rouge. The final 800m rose steadily to the line and this suited our African Team strongman perfectly.
As Orica-Greenedge led out the sprint, Boasson Hagen patiently waited for the just the right moment to launch his sprint. Even though he had to go a little long, Boasson Hagen’s timing couldn’t have been more perfect as he hit the front with 150m to go and from there he was able to hold off the fast finishing Julien Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quickstep) to take a fantastic win. As our African Team races everyday for the #BicyclesChangeLives campaign, at this point in time #KeepFightingKeagz has also been the driving force behind our performance.
Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider
I had a great position all day. The guys kept me well protected. In the finale I had to go from far. Everyone was getting tired and I managed to stay ahead. I’m very happy. It was the last opportunity for riders like me. I really wanted to do well today. I like the Dauphiné because there’s a stage for every kind of rider. I’ve done this race a lot of times. It’s been a great season so far and I hope to have a good Tour de France as well. I’m getting better and better towards the Tour de France. It’s nice to get a win for Dimension Data for Qhubeka and it gives me an opportunity to send my best wishes to Keagan Girdlestone for his recovery.