Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-HTC) won his fourth stage of the 2009 Tour of Britain in four days in another bunch gallop on the Quays in Bideford.
The Columbia-HTC team put on a show of strength over the rolling terrain on Exmoor and now the Norwegian sits firmly at the top of the list of overall winner contenders.
Today’s stage set off in warm and sunny conditions from the Somerset town of Frome and the day was again marked by a long breakaway attempt. Serge Pauwels (Cervélo Test Team) had attacked early in the stage and was joined by Geraint Thomas (Barloworld), Ian Stannard (ISD-Neri), Ben Swift (Katusha) and mountains and sprints leader Thomas De Gendt (TopSport – Vlaanderen).
The lead built to over three minutes with Columbia and CSF Navigare making most of the pace at the head of the bunch. It looked like the break would stay away this time when they still had a 30 second lead with 5km to go despite losing Swift on the run in. Columbia-HTC stamped its authority on the race again and brought field together again to contest the sprint.
Boasson Hagen went with 200m to go and had time to punch the air as he crossed the finish line ahead of Martin Reimer (Cervélo Test Team) and Russell Downing (CandiTV-Marshalls).
Boasson Hagen now leads the race by 19 seconds over Kai Reus (Rabobank) who finished in the bunch and Reimer is now third at 21 seconds. Boasson also leads on points and De Gendt did enough today to secure the mountains title outright and still leads the sprint category.
Tomorrow is the last chance for any of the teams to challenge Columbia-HTC’s supremacy.
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