Boasson Hagen Wins Stage 3 of Dauphine Libere
Fumiyuki Beppu (GreenEdge), who lives in nearby Lyon, got the action started early. He jumped into the lead and took Sander Cordeel (Lotto-Belisol), Jacob Rathe (Garmin-Sharp), and Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) with him. At 20 km, the quartet led the field by 6:50. At that point, Europcar took over at the front and led a gradual pursuit of the escapees.
Halfway through the stage, the break led the bunch by 5:40, and at the base of the Category 3 Col des Echarmeaux, with 58 km left, the gap was 4:10. Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Francaise des Jeux assumed command and lifted the pace.
At the summit, with 47.5 km left, the fugitives led the field by 1:45. Eleven km later, the gap was under one minute. With about 20 km remaining, NetApp-Endura joined Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Francaise des Jeux at the front. Two and a half km later, with 0:20 separating bunch and break, Cordeel attacked his companions. Only Rathe could chase. Eventually, Flecha caught the Garmin-Sharp man, but the peloton scooped them both up on the Category 3 Col des Sauvages. With 15 km to go, Cordeel led the bunch by 17 km.
Team Sky took command, and Cordeel was caught with 13 km remaining. Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) attacked but were quickly reeled in. Omega Pharma-Quick Step led the pursuit. Laurent Didier (RadioShack-Leopard) attacked and was caught, but Bart De Clercq (Lotto-Belisol) got clear. At the summit, with 9.5 km left, he led the peloton by 0:12.
Sky, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Movistar, and Saxo Bank-Tinkoff led the pursuit. With six km to go, De Clercq led the bunch by 0:06. Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) joined De Clercq with 3.3 km left, but the peloton closed on them. The bunch reeled in the pair with two km remaining.
BMC led the field into the last km, but Sky and Omega Pharma-Quick Step assumed command going into the homestretch. Geraint Thomas (Sky) led Boasson Hagen into the last 200 m. The Norwegian powered into the lead and held off Matthews.
Boasson Hagen was happy about his form and about the teamwork that his mates displayed. "I’m really happy to take the win today," he said. "The team did a great job to chase down the two riders on the front in the final kilometres. Geraint and Pete [Kennaugh] did lots of work to bring the move back and then gave me a great lead out. I felt pretty good in the sprint and I managed to take the win so I’m really happy about that, both for myself and the team....It’s a good boost. I’m aiming to get in better shape for the Tour de France and it looks like I am heading in the right direction, so I’m happy about that.
"I did a good block of training after the Tour of Norway and then took a few days to relax, and that meant I was good to go here at the Dauphine.”
In the overall, Veilleux leads Meersman by 1:56 and Tony Gallopin (RadioShack-Leopard) by 1:57. Stage 4 will sweep these riders from the top of the general classification. The individual time trial on a flat, 32.5 km course from Villars-les-Dombes to Parc des Oiseaux will put the contenders for overall victory in or near the race lead. Who will wear the yellow jersey tomorrow? Chris Froome (Sky)? Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff)? Will Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) win the time trial? Check at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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