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08 Jul, 2015

Ace sprinter takes fifth

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Edvald Boasson Hagen from Team MTN Qhubeka p/b Samsung
MTN Qhubeka p/b Samsung sprinter Edvald Boasson Hagen took fifth in an exciting fourth stage of the Tour de France yesterday (7 July).

“It was a very good stage today. The team did well to keep me in front at all the important moments,” said Edvald, who is currently the Norwegian national champion, “I was feeling fine all stage and pretty good over all the cobble sectors.

This marks the best stage result that MTN Qhubeka p/p Samsung has achieved in the Tour de France so far. On stage one, the individual time trial, the team’s British rider Stephen Cummings got a 10th place, stage two the team’s US rider Tyler Farrar managed a 25th place and on stage three, Louis Meintjies was the best place of the team’s riders with a 22nd place.

“I was able to always stay in the first group and I thought in the end Giant would ride to have a sprint for Degenkolb but that didn't happen. With Martin ahead I thought I would start the sprint early to have even the smallest chance of victory because my legs were still good, but we were not going to win the stage but I had to try,” Edvald added, “I am happy though and I am feeling really good at the moment.”

The fourth stage of the Tour de France saw riders take on the cobbled roads of Northern France. It would be a thrilling stage that saw Etixx-Quickstep rider Tony Martin taking both the stage victory and the yellow jersey (from Team Sky’s Chris Froome) after “escaping” from the lead peloton three kilometres from the finish.

After the seven cobble sectors that covered more than 13 kilometres of the stage’s total of 221 kilometres, it would be the strongest 35 riders that survived to contest for the stage victory. Edvald Boasson Hagen was part of this select group after some good early work by the MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung team, particularly Tyler Farrar, who made sure Edvald entered the first pivotal sector in the perfect place which came with 46 kilometres to go.

With the likes of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Chris Froome (Team Sky) making the front split, their teams kept the pressure on in front, hoping to gain time on some of their GC rivals. Edvald held a good position over each of the cobble sectors, ensuring he made each decisive selection as the peloton went from 190 riders to just 40 in the space of just three kilometres of cobbles.

With 10 kilometres to go from the end of the last cobble sector, it looked as if a small bunch sprint would decide the day. Martin was gunning for the yellow jersey though and so instead of chancing his arm against the sprinters that remained in the front group, he attacked with three kilometres to go. Team Sky were happy to relinquish the leader’s jersey and so there was no initial chase.

Edvald would open the sprint with around 350 metres to go before John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) passed the Norwegian in the final 50 metres.

South Africa’s hopes now lie exclusively with MTN Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s riders Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg and Louis Meintjies as Daryl Impey (Orica GreenEDGE) was one of the victims of stage three’s huge crash that saw Daryl and two other riders Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Andreas Schillinger (Bora – Argon 18) crash out of the Tour.

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung was founded in 2007, steadily working its way up from a regional team to a Continental Pro team with bases in South Africa and Italy.

MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s goal is to give talented African riders a path into the pro peloton while raising funds for Qhubeka. In 2015, MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung invite you to help them mobilise 5 000 kids on bicycles.
Raymond Travers

Raymond Travers

Modern Cyclist Editor |

Editor