Edvald Boasson Hagen took Team Sky’s first ever Tour de France stage in Liseaux today, sprinting away from Matt Goss (HTC) and Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cérvelo) in the final few hundred metres.



It was the first ever win in the Tour for a British registered team, and 42 years since Barry Hoban won for the British national squad in Sallanches, in 1968.

Geraint Thomas provided a brilliant lead out for his Norweigan team mate, covering the moves in the final kilometre as Boasson Hagen sat comfortably on his wheel. He eventually kicked with around 200 metres to go, putting daylight between him and his rivals. Hushovd never made an impression on his countryman while Goss left his effort too late.



The final sprint came atop a short but steep ninety metre climb that shed the race’s pure sprinting talents. It proved too selective for the likes of Mark Cavendish (HTC), who rolled in over a minute behind the winners.



It was a reduced peloton of sixty-two riders who galloped for the line, which included most of the big GC names. Levi Leipheimer was the only one to lose time after hitting the deck inside the last five kilometers. He ended the stage one minute six seconds down.



No one team controlled the sprint for the line, with many of those who were prominent at yesterday’s uphill finish once again in contention. José Rojas (Movistar) finished fourth, with Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) seventh.



Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) launched an attack with two kilometers to go. He quickly gained one hundred metres advantage on the peloton, but didn’t have the strength to hold it over the climb.



Boasson Hagen had looked strong yesterday, attacking inside the final kilometer the day’s stage. That surge proved fruitless, but in retrospect provided a clue to the form that he showed today. He held his sprint impressively, and crossed the line with half a bike length between himself and his pursuers. 



It was a good day for Norway, with Hushovd finishing third and keeping his yellow jersey too.



Victories came in twos for Team Sky today as well, with Ian Stannard taking the Tour of Austria’s fifth stage.



Soaked stage

Most of the stage was raced through driving rain and, with the finishing kilometers winding through Liseaux, there were fears that slippery conditions would cause problems. Ironically the finish was, in that respect, a damp squib, with the sun coming out for the first time towards the end and the stage finishing incident-free.



After yesterday’s crash-strewn stage, today’s was positively tame. Leipheimer’s unfortunate incident, in which he slipped on some wet road-markings, was the only one worthy of note.



The early move included breakaway enthusiast Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil), who was present in the stage four breakaway. He was joined by Anthony Roux (FdJ), Leonardo Duque (Cofidis), Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) and Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil).



They built up a lead of over ten minutes by the stage’s first climb and, Malori, the group’s last representative to be swallowed by the peloton, stayed clear until the five kilometer mark.



Hoogerland’s second day of escape ultimately proved fruitful, however, as he picked up two and one King of the Mountain points atop the day’s first two, category three, climbs. They are enough for him to take the polka dot jersey from the shoulders of Cadel Evans (BMC).



Cavendish beats rivals to intermediate sprint

The day’s intermediate sprint came after one hundred and thirty one kilometers and, with the first five spots taken by the break, Cavendish was first to cross the line. He picked up ten points for his sixth spot, and led Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cérvelo) and José Rojas over the line in seventh and eighth. Gilbert finished tenth to pick himself up six further points.



Gilbert remains in the green jersey, with Rojas second – but only by one point. Cavendish sits in fifth, fifty points behind the Belgian. 

Results

Tour de France 2011, stage six: Dinan – Lisieux, 226.5km


1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky 5-13-37

2. Matthew Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad

3. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Garmin-Cervelo

4. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil

5. Jose Rojas (Esp) Movistar

6. Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ

7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma Lotto

8. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quick Step

9. Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil

10. Arnold Jeanesson (Fra) FDJ

British

16. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky

47. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Cervelo

56. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky all at same time

101. Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad at 1-44 min

106. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky at same time



General Classification after stage six

1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Garmin-Cervelo 22-50-34

2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 1 sec

3. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 4 sec

4. David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Cervelo at 8 sec

5. Andréas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack at 10 sec

6. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky at 10 sec

7. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky at 12 sec

8. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky

9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard-Trek

10. Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard_Trek all at same time

British

62. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky at 3-50

80. Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad at 6-06

Geraint Thomas, Tour de France 2011, stage six



Geraint Thomas – best young rider, and ace lead-out man

Bradley Wiggins, Tour de France 2011, stage six



Bradley Wiggins wraps up

Leonardo Duque leads break, Tour de France 2011, stage six



Leonardo Duque drives the early break

Thor Hushovd, race leader, Tour de France 2011, stage six



Race leader Thor Hushovd gets some assistance

Cadel Evans, Tour de France 2011, stage six



Cadel Evans in the polka dot jersey

Clouds looming, Tour de France 2011, stage six



The rain was never far away during stage six

Edvald Boasson-Hagen wins, Tour de France 2011, stage six



Edvald Boasson Hagen celebrates his – and Team Sky’s – first Tour win

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Tour de France 2011: Stage reports



Stage five: Cavendish wins in Cap Frehel



Stage four: Evans edges out Contador on the Mur-de-Bretagne



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Tour de France 2011: Highlights videos



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Stage five video highlights



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Stage one video highlights




Tour de France 2011: Photo galleries


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Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson





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Stage two photo gallery by Andy Jones





Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson





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Tour de France 2011 team time trial training photo gallery by Andy Jones



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Tour de France 2011 team presentation by Graham Watson

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Tour de France 2011 LIVE: CW’s text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2011: Archive videos

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Halfords banner animated

  • Nicole

    Being British is about driving in a German car to an Irish pub for a Belgian beer, then travelling home, grabbing an Indian curry or a Turkish kebab on the way to sit on Swedish furniture, and watch the Tour de France on a Japanese-made TV and be proud a Norwegian wins the first stage for a BRITISH team. :-)