Edvald Boasson Hagen came close to giving Dimension Data yet another Tour de France stage victory on Tuesday in Revel. The Norwegian made it into the crucial break but didn’t have the legs to match stage winner Michael Mathews (Orica-BikeExchange) and world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and was edged out into third place.
"It's a bit sour [not to take victory] when the opportunity to win is there. It was a tough day, I felt good and had I good legs, but the others were better,' Boasson Hagen said at the finish.
Dimension Data won four stages in the first week with Mark Cavendish and Stephen Cummings and began the second with some serious intent. It was a fast and furious start as the peloton hit the Port d’Envalira as soon as the flag dropped for racing. Several moves tried to get free, but it wasn't until near the top that a move finally stuck. Boasson Hagen made the cut, and he was there again when the big breakaway started to fracture in the final 20 kilometres.
Boasson Hagen, a winner of two stages of the 2011 Tour de France, then tried a move that had produced the goods for him in the past but found the rainbow jersey not too far behind.
"It was a hard stage, but I was feeling ok. I managed to get over the mountain at the start. It was a really hard one, and I was the front group," said Boasson Hagen. "I tried to go on the descent. It worked fine in 2011, but I saw that Sagan was stuck on my wheel. After that, I decided to wait for the sprint.
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"I stayed on their wheels to save power. There was a lot of tactical play at the end, and Sagan had to drive on the front the most. He was strong, I stayed in his wheel and struggled quite heavily there."
Boasson Hagen had targeted stage 2 into Cherbourg-en-Cotentin but a heavy crash in the finale of the opening stage – which is still clearly evident on his skin – meant that it hadn't been possible, and he was determined to get into the break. Boasson Hagen takes some confidence in his performance on stage 10 as he looks to more opportunities in the coming days.
"It's good that I was there. The plan was that I would be in the brake. It slipped away at the end, but I have anyway had a very good Tour de France, and there is much left. I was not too far away," Boasson Hagen said.