Finally a Norwegian victory in ‘Le Tour’

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Edvald Boasson Hagen finally pulled off a Norwegian victory in the Tour de France on Friday, the first since 2014. After several photo-finishes that left him just so close, the 30-year-old Norwegian knocked out everyone else.

Here’s Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen sailing over the finish line in Friday’s 19th stage of the Tour de France. It was the first victory for a Norwegian in three years. PHOTO: NRK screen grab/TV2

Hagen had been frustrated, and well aware that his chances of winning a stage in the world’s greatest cycling race were becoming fewer and fewer. He and fellow Norwegian cyclist Alexander Kristoff excel on the flatter stages as opposed to the tough climbing ones over the mountains. Kristoff also took a nasty fall on Thursday.

It all came down to Hagen’s close examination of a roundabout on Friday’s 19th stage from Embrun to Salon-de-Provence. He seized the chance to swerve to the right, out of the flock of riders, just two kilometers from the finish line, and after pedaling hard for 220 kilometers before that.

The mild-mannered Hagen from just outside Lillehammer broke into a big smile after finally winning a stage in the Tour de France. PHOTO: NRK screen grab

“I had to take the right side and exploit it when no one else was there,” Hagen told state broadcaster NRK. Then he poured on what teammates called his “turbo” strength and sailed towards the finish line well ahead of all the others.

“This is great, when I’ve been so close so many times,” Hagen said, recalling his several “almost victories” over the past few weeks. “I have felt like I’m in good shape, and knew this would come.”

His Dimension Data teammate Mark Cavendish, who was knocked out of the race in a crash that left him too injured to continue, was thrilled by Hagen’s victory, exclaiming on social media that he was moved to tears: “So, so happy for you and Team Dimension Data. Persistence pays off.”

Douglas Ryder, sports chief for Dimension Data, was also delighted and relieved. “This is just so well-deserved,” Ryder told NRK, noting how close Hagen has been to winning on several occasions in recent weeks.

Teammate Steve Cummings felt the same. “He has been so strong, he really deserves this,” Cummings said. “He’s a great guy. Everyone loves him.”

It’s Hagen’s third lap victory in the Tour de France, with the last one occurring six years ago, on the 17th stage in 2011.

newsinenglish.no staff