Boasson Hagen Takes Second Stage Win of 2011 Tour
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) has taken his second stage win of the 2011 Tour de France.
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) has taken his second stage win of the 2011 Tour de France. The Norwegian surged into the lead on the day's last climb to win Stage 17, a rugged, 191.5-km ride from Gap to Pinerolo, Italy in 4:18:00. Bauke Mollema (Rabobank) finished second at 0:40, and Sandy Casar (Francaise des Jeux) finished third at 0:50. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) remains the maillot jaune.
The break of the day formed at 60 km. The escapees included Boasson Hagen, Mollema and Maarten Tjillangii (both from Rabobank), Casar, Ruben Perez Moreno (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Bjorn Leukemans and Borut Bozic (both from Vacansoleil-DCM), Julien El Fares (Cofidis), Dmitri Fofonov (Astana), Amadei Amadaro (Movistar), Maciej Paterski (Liquigas-Cannondale), Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), Jonathan Hivert (Saur-Sojasun), and Dmitri Muravyev (RadioShack). The fugitives led the field by 7:51 at the summit of the Category 1 climb of Sestrieres.
Two km from the summit, Moreno attacked his companions. The Spaniard's lead maxed out at 1:19 on the descent. Behind, Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM), Kevin De Weert (Quick Step), and Nicolas Roche (Ag2r) unsuccessfully attempted to bridge up to the break.
At the base of the day's final climb, the Cote de Pra Martino, Moreno had a one-minute lead on the pursuit. Four km from the summit, Chavavel attacked. The French road race champion caught and dropped Moreno, only to see Boasson Hagen overtake him. Just short of the summit, Boasson Hagen attacked again and held off the pursuit on the technical descent to the finish.
Behind, Team BMC led the field onto the Pra Martino. Leopard-Trek took over, and Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) began to accelerate. Andy and Frank Schleck (both from Saxo Bank) led the pursuit. The Schleck brothers descended cautiously, which allowed Contador to open a gap. Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) joined the defending champion, and the two attempted to take time out of the other GC contenders. Voeckler misjudged a turn and rode off the road and into a field. He was uninjured, however, and kept his maillot jaune despite losing 0:27. The rest of the GC contenders caught Contador and Sanchez on the run to the finish.
In the overall, Voeckler leads Cadel Evans (Team BMC Racing) by 1:18 and Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek) by 1:22. Stage 18 will be a standing shaker. The 200.5-km ride from Pinerolo, Italy to Galibier, France will feature three Hors Categorie climbs--the Col d'Agnel, the Col d'Izoard, and the Col du Galibier. Look for Saxo Bank to pace the field no later than the Izoard, and expect the yellow jersey group to be reduced to no more than 30 riders at the base of the Galibier. The Schleck brothers and Contador will launch repeated attacks to distance themselves from the field. Who will win the stage? Will Voeckler keep the yellow jersey? If not, who will don it? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and www.roadcycling.mobi to find out!