Chris Froome keeps narrow Tour de France lead as Edvald Boasson Hagen wins stage 19
Last Updated: 22/07/17 10:24am
Chris Froome maintained his 23-second lead over Romain Bardet as Edvald Boasson Hagen won stage 19 of the Tour de France
Froome, the three-time Tour winner, was well protected by his teammates, who controlled the stage from the front of the peloton on the longest day of this year's race, from Embrun to Salon de Provence.
Team Dimension Data's Boasson Hagen was among a 20-man breakaway from 80km, which split with around 10km to go. He got ahead of the leading 11 riders by taking the shorter side of a roundabout 3km from the finish before kicking powerfully away to a solo finish.
Froome leads by 23 seconds from Frenchman Romain Bardet and 29 seconds from Colombian Rigoberto Uran going into Saturday's penultimate stage, a 22.5km time trial starting and finishing in Marseille's Velodrome stadium. This has been described as the time trial of Froome's life, with Uran among the strong time triallers potentially contesting a win tomorrow.
"Certainly at this point, it's my race to lose," said Froome. "I have to make sure I do everything right, follow the right processes and hopefully not have the bad day. I've got the legs, and hopefully everything else will be all right."
Froome is yet to win a stage on this Tour and, if he falls short on Saturday, could become one of only six people to win the Tour without taking a stage.
However, he believes Marseille could play to his strengths.
"It's definitely a fast course, there's a small climb out the back of Marseille," he said. "I think it suits me well, it's quite a power time trial. I certainly think someone like (Primoz) Roglic or Tony Martin could be fighting for the stage win tomorrow."
Speaking after his stage win, Boasson Hagen said: "I'm really happy.
"It's been really close many times, but today I managed to make an attack so we didn't have to do a photo finish.
"I've been getting confidence by seeing I could be so close so many times. It's always bitter when you're not winning but now I'm so happy."
Today's breakaway, which maintained around a seven-minute lead over the peloton for much of the race, comprised mainly sprinters' teams and quickly increased its advantage.
This suited Team Sky, who were keen to avoid a dangerous sprint through the final kilometre to the finish line in Salon de Provence.
Team Sunweb's Michael Matthews will become the third Australian rider to win the Tour's green jersey, providing he makes it to the finish in Paris on Sunday. His teammate, Warren Barguil, similarly, will win the polka dot mountains jersey.
Tomorrow riders will tackle a 22.5km time trial in Marseille. Before the men's race begins, the pro women's La Course will take place. The women's race, the same distance as the men, but involving the top 19 riders from Thursday's race, kicks off at midday; the men's race at 12.45pm.
Stage 19 result
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Dimension Data 5:06:09"
2. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb +5"
3. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott +17"
4. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar Team
5. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
6. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie
7. Elie Gesbert (Fra) Fortuneo-Oscaro
8. Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
9. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Scott +19"
10. Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fra) Fortuneo-Oscaro +1:32"
11. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie +1:37"
1. Chris Froome (GBR) Team Sky 83:26:55"
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale +23"
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac +29"
4. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky +1:36"
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team +1:55"
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors +2:56"
7. Simon Yates (GBR) Orica-Scott +4:46"
8. Louis Meintjes (SA) UAE Team Emirates +6:52"
9. Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb +8:22"
10. Alberto Contador (Esp) Trek-Segafredo +8:34"
Additional reporting by AFP