Tour of Britain 4: Boasson Hagen strikes again

Reus clings to lead by just 1 second

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-HTC) beat Chris Sutton (Garmin-Slipstream) and Martin Reimer (Cervelo Test Team) in a tight sprint in Blackpool on Tuesday to win stage four of the 2009 Tour of Britain. 

Even with many riders caught behind a crash well into the last kilometre, Boasson Hagen had to work hard to fend off the challenge from the small group that included Russell Downing (CandiTV-Marshalls) and Kodo Fernandez (Euskatel-Euskadi).

Nicolas Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale) escaped early in the stage with Simon Clarke (ISD-Neri) and Frederio Canuti (CSF Navigare) and the three riders forged a lead of over two minutes. As the race approached the first climb of the day at Tatham Fells, Roche was on the front of the break chatting to his breakaway companions in Italian to keep the effort going.

The bunch was about one and a half minutes behind on the climb when Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) launched an attack near the summit with Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) on his wheel and Maxime Monfort (Columbia-HTC) chasing behind. Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel) made it across to the three chasers before Thomas punctured and was forced to wait for race service in the narrow lanes. The three remaining chasers then merged with the leaders to create a strong six-man lead group.

Garmin Slipstream was in fighting form and got to the head of affairs to bring the breakaway group within spitting distance after three and a half hours of racing. The break had appeared to sit up but suddenly found impetus and moved clear again.

The break tried to stay clear but Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) was firing on all cylinders on the front and the leaders were caught with only a kilometre to go. A crash split the field and Boasson Hagen pounded down the Promenade in Blackpool to take his second victory in consecutive days.

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