On its Tour de France debut in 2015, Dimension Data celebrated Mandela Day with Steve Cummings taking a stirring win in Mende. July 18 in 2017 saw the team come within half a wheel of a second Mandela Day win for the African team as Edvald Boasson Hagen recorded his fourth top-three result of the race on stage 16,
A two-time stage winner in 2011 when with Team Sky, the Norwegian is enjoying his most consistent Tour since. Second my mere millimetres in Nuits-Saint-Georges, he was third in Pau and Rodez and second again in Romans-sur-Isère.
Boasson Hagen was attentive all day on a stage that saw the peloton blow to pieces in the crosswinds. With his Dimension Data working alongside Team Sunweb to ensure a sprint finish, the technical finale was suited to Boasson Hagen's characteristics. However, in the twisty corners, he lost position as Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) took front position. Edvald Boasson had a fast finish but found himself too far back and just like on Rodez, could only watch on as Matthews celebrated.
"This was a really hard stage. The team did very well to keep me at the front all day. Everybody did such a great job. Unfortunately, in the last corner, I was a bit too far down," said Boasson Hagen. "I knew I had to be at the front at that point but sometimes these things happen. I was probably the fasted rider on the last stretch and I almost made it. It's a shame. This was a good chance for me."
Speaking with TV2 at the finish once the result was made official from the race jury, Boasson Hagen explained that despite the lack of stages suited to his speed, he still wants a stage win before the Tour ends on Sunday in Paris,
"It was good that I was with there towards the end. Chances are fewer going forward, but I'm certainly up there," he said. "There was a fight in the last turn, but that happens. I sat in front for the whole day and we did a good job with the team. It was windy and I had no trouble being in the front."
With two stages to come in the Alps, Steve Cummings is likely to take up the charge for Dimension Data's hunt for stages before stage 19 into Marseille which is likely to again feature Boasson Hagen at the pointy end. The stage 20 time trial in the port city could also be a day for Boasson Hagen before Sunday's sprint final in Paris.
Having broken through for its first win in 2015, Dimension Data won five stages in 2016 and will be hoping it can continue its winning streak into a third edition of the French Grand Tour.