Criterium du Dauphine 2016: Edvald Boasson Hagen wins stage four

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Criterium du Dauphine 2016: Edvald Boasson Hagen wins stage four

Norwegian champion sprints to first WorldTour victory for three years; Chris Froome closes gap overall after late split

Norwegian champion Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) sprinted to victory on stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine.

Boasson Hagen picked the perfect line to outsprint Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) to record his sixth victory of the season, and first on the WorldTour since the 2013 Dauphine, when he was still with Team Sky.

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) kept the yellow jersey, meanwhile, despite being caught behind a gap in the bunch across the finishing line.

Edvald Boasson Hagen won stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine (pic: Sirotti)

Maxime Bouet (Etixx-QuickStep), Bryan Nauleau (Direct Energie) and Frederik Veuchelen (Wanty Groupe-Gobert) formed the day’s break almost from the off and were given the go-ahead to forge clear.

Both Tinkoff and Cofidis kept them in check, however, with a slow pace throughout the peloton ahead of the climb-heavy final few stages.

After Fabio Aru foiled the fast men on stage three, Cofidis were joined by the other sprint trains at the front too, keen not to miss their final opportunity for stage honours in this year’s race.

Consequently the pace was ramped up, once a heavy rainfall had passed, with the three leaders just 35 seconds clear into the final 18km.

Bouet pushed on solo, riding on home roads and with places in Etixx-QuickStep’s Tour de France squad up for grabs, but the peloton continued to ramp up the tempo.

BMC Racing hit the front, with Richie Porte’s GC ambitions and Greg van Avermaet’s stage hopes in mind but there was plenty of company – not least from Nacer Bouhanni’s Cofidis team-mates.

Bouet held on for as long as possible, before team-mate Tony Martin led the peloton past him with a congratulatory pat on the back for his efforts.

Giant-Alpecin were next to line-out at the very front – a clear indication of John Degenkolb’s belief his form is coming back – and a nasty crash in the bunch for a Cofidis rider didn’t halt the momentum.

The crash, fortunately, only directly affected one more rider as Giant-Alpecin continued to set a furious pace with plenty of passengers latched on behind.

It was Boasson Hagen who led the sprint out, however, picking a perfect line down the middle of the final straight.

Bouhanni tried to go round the outside, while Alaphilippe – in the white jersey – targeted bonus seconds as he made a move on the Norwegian’s inside.

Boasson Hagen would not be stopped, however, grabbing the stage win and the green jersey in the process.

Alaphilippe gained six bonus seconds in second place to buoy his own GC ambitions, meanwhile, as attention now turns to the mountains and the battle for the yellow jersey.

And there will be just four seconds separating Contador from Chris Froome (Team Sky), who was the right side of the gaps that appeared at the end to move into second place overall.

Criterium du Dauphine 2016: stage four – result

1) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Dimension Data – 4.39.26hrs
2) Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) – Etixx-QuickStep – ST
3) Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) – Cofidis
4) Jens Debusschere (BEL) – Lotto-Soudal
5) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing
6) Samuel Dumoulin (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale
7) Jens Keukeleire (BEL) – Orica-GreenEDGE
8) John Degenkolb (GER) – Giant-Alpecin
9) Sam Bennett (IRL) – Bora-Argon 18
10) Luka Pibernik (SVN) – Lampre-Merida

General classification

1) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff – 17.52.45hrs
2) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky +4”
3) Richie Porte (AUS) – BMC Racing +6”
4) Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) – Etixx-QuickStep +9”
5) Daniel Martin (IRL) – Etixx-QuickStep +12”
6) Jesus Herrada (ESP) – Movistar +27”
7) Adam Yates (GBR) – Orica-GreenEDGE +31”
8) Diego Rosa (ITA) – Astana +35”
9) Daniel Navarro (ESP) – Cofidis +43”
10) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Trek-Segafredo +48”

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