Edvald Boasson Hagen Flies to Sprint Victory in 2011 Tour de France Stage 6

News & Results

07/7/2011| 0 comments
by AP and Roadcycling.com
The rocky tidal island Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
The rocky tidal island Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Edvald Boasson Hagen Flies to Sprint Victory in 2011 Tour de France Stage 6

Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway led a sprint to win the rain-splattered sixth stage of the Tour de France 2011 and his countryman Thor Hushovd (Team Garmin-Cervélo) retained the yellow jersey earlier today.

Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway led a sprint to win the rain-splattered sixth stage of the Tour de France 2011 and his countryman Thor Hushovd (Team Garmin-Cervélo) retained the yellow jersey earlier today.

The pack battled both slippery roads and brisk winds over the hilly 226.5-kilometer (140.75-mile) ride across northwest France from Dinan to Lisieux in Normandy - the longest stage of the 2011 Tour de France.

Boasson Hagen, a sprint specialist with Team Sky, whizzed out of the barreling pack with about 200 meters left and held on, jutting his arms in the air as he crossed the line for his first Tour de France stage victory.

"I really surprised myself," Hagen said. "Lots of people say that I'm a talented guy, so it's nice to show it by winning a stage."

Boasson Hagen has previously won a stage in a Grand Tour - Stage 7 of the 2009 Giro d'Italia .

Team HTC-HighRoad's Matt Goss of Australia was second, and Hushovd finished third after holding himself back in the sprint to help his young Norwegian countryman, according to some pro cycling analysts.

Referring to his compatriot Hushovd, who has twice taken home the Tour's green jersey awarded to the best sprinter, Hagen said: "I want to be as good as him - or better."

Philippe Gilbert of Team Omega Pharma-Lotto and Belgium, who won Saturday's 1st stage, said "everyone was a bit out of breath" and that Hagen "devoured the last 150 meters - he's impossible to catch when he's like that."

Hushovd reveled in his country's success on Thursday.

"Not bad, after all - it's a good day for Norway," said the Garmin-Cervelo veteran, who retained the yellow jersey for a fifth consecutive day. As for Hagen, he said: "Clearly he's got a big future."

Overall, Hushovd retained a one-second lead from Cadel Evans of Australia, while Frank Schleck of Luxembourg is third, four seconds back. Three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, who lost time in a Stage 1 crash, sits 39th overall, 1:42 behind Hushovd.

Hushovd and his team appeared to be wearying of the hard work of protecting the yellow jersey, which involves riding in the front to keep the race leader out of potential trouble.

"The yellow jersey's on my shoulders and I used up a lot of energy, so I'm a little bit tired. That's why I missed that little something today," Hushovd said to try to explain to journalists why he held himself back in the final meters.

"I'm feeling good but it's been a hard and stressful week," Hushovd added.

A string of breakaway riders sought to get a leg up but the pack eventually reeled them all in - the last ones getting caught within just the last two kilometers. The pack also had to scale three low-grade climbs.

Bike tires kicked up trails of mist on the rain-soaked roads, while the riders' shaved legs and arms glistened. Many gingerly negotiated sharp turns like one at the entrance to Lisieux.

"Already it was a long day, with the wind and the

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