Tour De France 2017
Stage 19: Embrun / Salon-de-Provence 222.5 km
Edvald Boasson Hagen won the 19th stage of the Tour de France, attacking out of a breakaway to take the solo win. Second place went to Nikias Arndt (Sunweb), with third going to Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Scott). It was the first win for Dimension Data at this year’s Tour.
The peloton with race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) was more than 11 minutes back as the Norwegian crossed the finish line.
It was Boasson Hagen’s eighth win of the season and his first Tour stage win since winning two in 2011 with Team Sky. He launched his winning effort on a roundabout only 2.2km before the finish line. He and Arndt went right, whilst the others went left and the right side was noticeably shorter. The two shot out to a lead which they never surrendered, though Arndt could not hold the wheel of the Norwegian.
The first nine were part of a 20-man break group which formed early in the race and was allowed to build up to a 10-minute lead. The group split with less than 20km left after many attacks tore the group apart.
How it unfolded
Stage 19 was the longest of this year’s Tour – 222.5 km – but still the attacks started as soon as the flag was dropped. A group of eight formed early, but was unable to establish itself.
The first ranked climb of the day, the third category Col Lebraut, came after only 27km and Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac) and Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Oscaro) jumped clear over the summit. Rolland and Sicard dropped back, with Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) moving up.
Calmejane and Gesbert slowly built up a lead on the descent, and were soon joined by a larger group. Team Sky finally decided they was satisfied with how things were developing, and they let the large group go.
The group contained Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Jan Bakelants (AG2R), Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie), Romain Hardy (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Robert Kiserlovski (Katusha), Rudy Molard (FDJ), Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie), Pierre Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Gianluca Brambilla (QuickStep Floors), Jens Keukeleire (Orica Scott), Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates), Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo Oscaro), Nikias Arndt (Sunweb), Michael Albasini (Orica-Scott), Daniele Bennati (Movistar).
The gap quickly grew out to five minutes as Hardy led the group over the day’s second climb, the Cote de Breziers. Team Sky were willing to let the gap move out as they were not interested in a potentially risky bunch sprint.
Next up was the Col de Pointu, another third category climb. Coming 45km before the finish, it offered a launch pad for anyone wanting to break from the group or peloton. The lead group was no longer as unified as it had been, and with 2.5km to the top, Kiserlovski, Gesbert and Sicard took off. Sicard led the way at the top.
Gallopin dangled at the end of the group, shot up to the front, and then fell back again, struggling to even stay in sight of the group. Mollema took off on the descent, as it changed from a unified group to every man for himself. He too was brought back, as the group started working together again on the flat.
Too many teams were still looking for a first stage win. Attack followed attack, and with 18km left the break split into two almost equally sized groups.
Bakelants, De Gendt, Bennati, Chavanel, Keukeleire, Boasson Hagen, Arndt, Gesbert and Albasini made the cut and slowly pulled away. At the 10km marker, they had 13 seconds on their chasers, and 10 minutes on the peloton.
With 8km to go the attacks started again. Still, the group somehow hung together. Arndt and Boasson Hagen took the right side of a roundabout with 2.2km to go and came out ahead of the rest who took the left side. The duo took off, but Arndt could no longer follow the Norwegian. Boasson Hagen took off and easily soloed it to take the win. Arndt saved second, for another top Sunweb placing, with Keukeleire third.
The second part of the group came in more than 1:30 down, with the peloton still making its way to the finish. There was no sprint, and Sky’s Christian Knees led the procession across the finish line 12:27 after Boasson Hagen.