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LA CLAYETTE, France (AFP) — Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) won stage 3 of the Critérium du Dauphiné Wednesday. The Norwegian topped Gerald Ciolek (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Borut Bozic (Astana) in what should be the only bunch finish of the weeklong Tour de France tune-up.
Boasson Hagen’s Sky teammate Bradley Wiggins finished in the peloton to retain a one-second lead in the GC over Cadel Evans (BMC Racing).
The 25-year-old Scandinavian, who picked up two stage wins at the Tour de France last year, claimed his second stage victory in the Dauphiné two years after his first.
“The priority is the yellow and blue jersey for Bradley,” said Boasson Hagen. “But today I had more freedom. I positioned myself in the slipstream of Gerald Ciolek and waited until the last 150 meters before making my move.
“It’s been a very good week. For the Tour (de France) — I’ll be there to help (Mark) Cavendish and Wiggins.
“If I have the chance I’ll try to make an impression, but that would be a bonus. I’m there first of all to help the team. I’m thrilled to be in this outfit.”
Thursday’s 53.5km time trial in Bourg-en-Bresse should play a decisive role in the weeklong race.
“The time trial is super important. It’s rare to have a race against the clock over 53 kilometers,” said Wiggins. “It’ll sort out the men from the boys.
“It’s going to be the most important day of the week, with Saturday’s stage.”
Reflecting on his Sky teammates, Wiggins added: “The team is great, no matter what state you are in, you are nothing without a team. Without my teammates, I’m nothing. It’s a very strong group, we’re probably the most professional team in the world, on every level.”
The day’s ride was marked by an early breakaway by Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis), the Spanish duo quickly establishing a six-minute lead over the main pack.
The peloton eventually reeled the escapees in 16km from the finish.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step led out from 5km to go with French champion Sylvain Chavanel delivering a huge pull with 3.5km remaining. Ciolek opened the sprint, but Boasson Hagen proved too strong.
Editor’s Note: Keep your browser pointed to VeloNews.com for more from stage 3 of the Critérium du Dauphiné.