Edvald Boasson Hagen would show his class at the final Tour des Fjords stage and took an emphatic stage victory. Edvald was part of a late 4 man escape and the Norwegian star was able to out sprint Daryl Impey (Orica-Greenedge) and Marco Haller (Katusha) for his first victory of the season.
As the race hit the final climb of the day, Pig Hill, Edvald would put in a strong attack from the peloton that only Impey, Haller and Sven Erik Bystrom (Katusha) could match. The quartet would catch and pass the early 5 rider break of the day on the steep 20% slopes of Pig Hill, and then Edvald would force the pace over the top ensuring the 4 would go clear.
With 7km to the finish from the top of the hill and only 8″ to play with, the 4 leaders had to put their heads down and go for it, and that they did. With Haller only needing 7″ to win the tour overall and having his teammate Bystrom in the move, it certainly helped the chances of the break surviving. All 4 riders would fully commit to the move and with 3km to go the gap had grown to 24″.
Going under the red kite, Bystrom led it out followed by Haller, Impey and then Edvald. Haller opened the sprint first with 400m to go and Edvald waited for 200m to go before launching his final effort. Edvald just had too much speed for Impey and Haller as he came passed them to cross the line first. Kristian Sbaragli made the day just that bit sweeter as he was 2nd in the sprint from the peloton, claiming 6th place.
The victory concludes what has been a great two weeks of racing in Norway. The team came close to victory many times both this week and last week but finally today, Africa’s team would get its deserved win. With his win today, Edvald moved into 7th place on the GC and Kristian would hang on to 10th overall as well with Haller securing the yellow jersey.
Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider
It was really nice to win today. The team was working so well together once again to put me in a good position for the final climb. My legs were good and I was able to put in an attack on the final climb and got away with 3 other guys. We worked well to the finish and then I was able to win the sprint. It has been a long time since I have won so I am really happy to have won today, for myself and for the team. They worked 100% for me so it was great to reward their efforts. It’s also good to win in the new colours as it’s great publicity for the Qhubeka charity.
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
All the great work by the guys over the last 2 weeks here in Norway has been paid off today. It was a very fast start with plenty of attacks and it took 60km for 5 riders to form the break. Back in the bunch, the peloton split several times in the cross winds. The bunch always came back together though. Finally in the final circuit, during the last lap, the break was caught when Edvald attacked on the last hill and took 3 riders with him. They opened a gap which was big enough to make it to the finish where Edvald won the sprint. I am very, very happy and not only for the win but with the whole team for all their great work.