The first transitional stage between the Pyrenees and the Alps would be won by the Belgian, Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing). Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was the rider in 2nd place and Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) was 3rd.
A 6 rider break went clear inside of 10km from the start but Team Giant-Alpecin had ideas of a stage win today and held the escapees around 4’00” all day. With 40km to go, Orica-Greenedge and Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung came to the fore in assisting to reel in the fugitives.
Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Steve Cummings would all put in some big turns as our African team were looking to set up Edvald Boasson Hagen for the tough final kilometer sprint. The break fought valiantly to hold on to some sort of advantage and would reach the flamme rouge with a 15 second lead. The gradient of over 8% that took the riders to the line would be to the detriment of the final 3 surviving breakaway riders though.
Edvald started the short sharp climb in a good position, just behind Sagan but unfortunately it would not be the Norwegian champions day. Van Avermaet surged clear with 400m to go, Sagan tried to match the BMC rider but just ran out of steam 20m before the line. The finish had been a lot tougher than many had anticipated with the GC riders filling the majority of the top 20 stage placings.
Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider
It was a really hot day but our team was working really well, especially in the end. After always keeping me in the front, Steve and Daniel helped to chase down the break. When it came to the last climb my legs were empty. It was too warm and the lactic acid was too much so I couldn’t do anything on the climb which was a pity, but the team was excellent.