Team Sky's mantra may be "All for Froome" at the Tour de France, but Norwegian powerhouse Edvald Boasson Hagen got the chance to go hunting for the stage 5 win in Marseille today, and came up with an impressive second place behind Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma Quick Step). He admitted he didn't get close to overhauling "the best sprinter in the world", but added that his performance all round today showed his form is improving.
"I managed to get a good line into the sprint, firstly by getting on Peter Sagan's wheel and then someone from Lotto, but it's very hard to come past Cavendish. He's the best sprinter in the world, and it's hard to stop him," said Boasson Hagen. "I know that I'm here to help Chris, but I do get some chances in the sprint. I'm very happy with the way it went for me."
Asked about how the first road stage since the race left Corsica went, the Norwegian described the stage between Cagnes and Marseille as being a bit more relaxed than those on the island. "We were pleased the race settled down a bit today," he said. "The team worked well around Chris and we're still on track for our main objective, so that's the main thing for us. I also felt stronger on the climbs today, which is a good omen."
Froome described the stage as "quite grippy on the wheels", but otherwise relatively straightforward. "It's another day down for us. Edvald got to stretch his legs in the final and came second to Cav, which is not bad going at all considering he doesn't have a lead-out train with him. Our objective here objective is the GC here and staying safe, but at least he's had the opportunity to go for the sprint." Asked if he was surprised to see his teammate show so well on a flat dragstrip sprint, Froome said, "Edvald can do whatever he wants if he puts his mind to it."