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Columbia’s Edvald Boasson Hagen wins stage 4 of the Tour of Britain, as a flat tire delates Emilien Berges’ hopes.

A challenging uphill final stretch made for an exciting stage finish to day four of the Tour of Britain, as Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia) came from behind to beat breakaway companion Giairo Ermeti (LPR Brakes - Ballan) on the line in Stoke-on-Trent. Race leader Emilien Berges punctured with around 7k to go, losing over a minute and dropping to ninth place overall. Teammate Geoffroy Lequatre inherited the yellow jersey going into Thursday's stage in Yorkshire. Ben Swift won all of the day’s three E.ON King of the Mountains climbs to overtake Kristian

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A challenging uphill final stretch made for an exciting stage finish to day four of the Tour of Britain, as Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Columbia) came from behind to beat breakaway companion Giairo Ermeti (LPR Brakes – Ballan) on the line in Stoke-on-Trent.

Race leader Emilien Berges punctured with around 7k to go, losing over a minute and dropping to ninth place overall. Teammate Geoffroy Lequatre inherited the yellow jersey going into Thursday’s stage in Yorkshire.

Ben Swift won all of the day’s three E.ON King of the Mountains climbs to overtake Kristian
House at the top of the standings, while second place finisher Ermeti took over the sprints jersey after winning all three intermediate sprints.

Fast start

Clear blue skies welcomed the peloton to Worcester, at a start moved a few hundred yards from the city’s flooded racecourse.

Covering the first two miles at nearly 35mph set the tone for the first hour, as riders struggled to make their attacks stick. CSC’s Bradley McGee briefly established a lead, but was reeled in, as three other riders including teammate Chris Anker Sorensen tried to make it across to him.

On the climb of High Habberley, Swift forced the pace, summiting first and taking eight other riders with him as the peloton strung itself out on the fast descent.

With Stuart O’Grady (CSC), Serge Pauwels (Topsport Vlaanderen), Daniel Lloyd (An Post M.Donnelly), Santiago Botero (Rock Racing), Rob Hayles (GBR), Wesley Sulzberger (SouthAustralia.com – AIS), Ermeti and Boasson Hagen for company, the break had the quality to succeed, but it took them around five miles to build up a slender lead of just 18 seconds as they crossed into Staffordshire.

David Millar (Garmin-Chipotle) then succeeded in getting across the gap to make it ten riders up front, and that’s how it stayed with their lead gradually building as the race passed through Wolverhampton and across Shropshire, before descending into the Ironbridge Gorge.

Agritubel’s Romain Feillu and Steven Caethoven came to the front as the race turned right just beyond Ironbridge and headed uphill, forcing the pace for the peloton. Ahead of them, though, Swift attacked, aiming to secure the mountains points, in the process jettisoning his teammate Hayles from the breakaway.

The Great Britain rider picked up full points at both the E.ON King of the Mountains climbs of Jiggers Bank and Saddle of the Wrekin, ensuring he would don the jersey he won in 2007 once more.

The chase is on

A fast descent from the back of the Wrekin saw the peloton strung out in a line as Agritubel led the chase to bring back the escapees, which included 11th placed rider overnight Ermeti, just 1 minute 56 seconds back from Berges.

The gap, which had never been more than just over two minutes, soon began to tumble as the race made its way back into Staffordshire along the exposed roads between Newport and Eccleshall. With 25km to go it was 1 minute 22 seconds, but that was slashed as pack headed up from Stone to Rough Close, with the gap now under a minute.

Another fast descent saw the leaders through Barlaston with a 42-second advantage over the fast chasing peloton. As the race turned right past Wedgewood, disaster struck.

Untimely puncture

First Russell Downing punctured and found himself having to chase hard to get back on, and then as the route turned right once more, the yellow jersey pulled to the right, signaling that he too had punctured.

Temporarily left without teammates, Berges began to chase, first catching and passing fellow Agritubel rider Freddy Bichot, and then reaching last year’s Tour of Britain winner Feillu, who had dropped back to help Berges along with Caethoven.

With riders being shelled out the back of the fast moving peloton, the Agritubel trio kept catching and passing the stragglers, while at the front the break dangled on the long straight run down Victoria Road.

As the remaining nine escapes were about to be caught with around 3km to go, Boasson Hagen jumped, taking Ermeti away with him onto the uphill section leading to Potteries Way, with the peloton in hot pursuit.

The two swept down the brief section of by-pass before turning on to the final few hundred meters of uphill to the finish line. As Ermeti led them to the line, Boasson Hagen came the long way round him, pipping him at the line to take his first Tour of Britain stage victory.

Behind them a frustrated Danilo Di Luca (LPR), finished third, banging his handlebars as he crossed the line on a finale that suited his talents, while Lequatre came in ninth to ensure he kept the yellow jersey for the French team

Boasson Hagen praised the work his breakaway companions had done, but admitted it had been a narrow victory.

“It was close. I didn’t actually see the peloton, but I heard Roger (Hammond) scream from behind in the group, so I attacked.”

For new race leader Geoffroy Lequatre, there were mixed emotions as he inherited the race lead from his teammate.

“It is a strange emotion, because I am happy I am in the yellow jersey, but unhappy because Emilien (Berges) hit a hole and got a puncture when he was on my wheel, so I feel bad.

“I’m happy for the team. It was hard for us today because nobody would help us, but the boys did a good job. For sure I would like to keep this jersey, because it is a great tour. I hope to do a good race and to win.”

Thursday sees the race visit Yorkshire and Humberside forstage 5, from Hull to Dalby Forest. Riders will tackle flat coastal roads early on, before turning inland at Scarborough to tackle a series of tough climbs that welcome the race into Dalby Forest.

Results

Stage Results: | (GC Results)

1. Edval Boasson Hagen (NOR) Team Columbia in 3:36:11
2. Giairo Ermeti (ITA) Lpr Brakes – Ballan
3. Danilo Di Luca (ITA) Lpr Brakes – Ballan in 3:36:15
4. Julian Dean (NZL) Garmin – Chipotle in 3:36:15 at s.t.
5. Kristof Goddaert (BEL) Topsport Vlaanderen in 3:36:15 at s.t.
6. Dean Downing (GBR) Rapha – Condor – Recycling.co. in 3:36:18 at 07
7. Steve Cummings (GBR) Barloworld in 3:36:18 at s.t.
8. Daniel Lloyd (GBR) An Post M.donnelly in 3:36:20 at 09
9. Geoffroy Lequarte (FRA) Agritubel in 3:36:20 at s.t.
10. Matthew Goss (AUS) Team Csc – Saxo Bank in 3:36:20 at s.t.
11. Roger Hammond (GBR) Team Columbia in 3:36:23 at 12
12. Malcolm Elliott (GBR) Pinarello Rt – Candi Tv in 3:36:23 at s.t.
13. Frederik Veuchelen (BEL) Topsport Vlaanderen in 3:36:23 at s.t.
14. Alejandro Marque Porto (ESP) Palmeiras Resort – Tavira in 3:36:23 at s.t.
15. Oscar Sevilla (ESP) Rock Racing in 3:36:23 at s.t.
16. Daniel Fleeman (GBR) An Post M.donnelly in 3:36:23 at s.t.
17. Benny De Schrooder (BEL) An Post M.donnelly in 3:36:23 at s.t.
18. Daniel Martin (IRL) Garmin – Chipotle in 3:36:23 at s.t.
19. Jonathan Mcevoy (GBR) Great Britain in 3:36:23 at s.t.
20. Chris Sorensen (DEN) Team Csc – Saxo Bank in 3:36:23 at s.t.
21. Russell Downing (GBR) Pinarello Rt – Candi Tv in 3:36:23 at s.t.
22. Gabriele Bosisio (ITA) Lpr Brakes – Ballan in 3:36:23 at s.t.
23. Ian Stannard (GBR) Great Britain in 3:36:23 at s.t.
24. Chris Sutton (AUS) Garmin – Chipotle in 3:36:23 at s.t.
25. Kristian House (GBR) Rapha – Condor – Recycling.co. in 3:36:23 at s.t.
26. David Blanco Rodriguez (ESP) Palmeiras Resort – Tavira in 3:36:23 at s.t.
27. Vicente Reynes (ESP) Team Columbia in 3:36:23 at s.t.
28. Andrew Tennant (GBR) Great Britain in 3:36:23 at s.t.
29. David George (RSA) Mtn Energade in 3:36:23 at s.t.
30. Jonathan Bellis (GBR) Team Csc – Saxo Bank in 3:36:23 at s.t.
31. Ben Swift (GBR) Great Britain in 3:36:32 at 21
32. Alessandro Petacchi (ITA) Lpr Brakes – Ballan in 3:36:32 at s.t.
33. Kevin Evans (RSA) Mtn Energade in 3:36:32 at s.t.
34. Stephen Gallagher (IRL) An Post M.donnelly in 3:36:32 at s.t.
35. Simon Richardson (GBR) Plowman Craven Rt in 3:36:37 at 26
36. Tom Southam (GBR) Great Britain in 3:36:45 at 34
37. Evan Oliphant (GBR) Plowman Craven Rt in 3:36:45 at s.t.
38. Rob Partridge (GBR) Rapha – Condor – Recycling.co. in 3:36:45 at s.t.
39. Juan Van Heerden (RSA) Mtn Energade in 3:36:45 at s.t.
40. Hugo Pena Victor (COL) Rock Racing in 3:36:45 at s.t.
41. Zakkari Dempster (AUS) Southaustralia.com – Ais in 3:36:45 at s.t.
42. Johnnie Walker (AUS) Southaustralia.com – Ais in 3:36:49 at 38
43. Waylon Woolcock (RSA) Mtn Energade in 3:37:00 at 49
44. Tyler Hamilton (USA) Rock Racing in 3:37:00 at s.t.
45. Serge Pauwels (BEL) Topsport Vlaanderen in 3:37:00 at s.t.
46. Fred Rodriguez (USA) Rock Racing in 3:37:15 at 01:04
47. Santiago Botero (COL) Rock Racing in 3:37:19 at 01:08
48. Rob Hayles (GBR) Great Britain in 3:37:19 at s.t.
49. Magnus Backstedt (SWE) Garmin – Chipotle in 3:37:19 at s.t.
50. Dale Appleby (GBR) Rapha – Condor – Recycling.co. in 3:37:19 at s.t.
51. Simon Clarke (AUS) Southaustralia.com – Ais in 3:37:19 at s.t.
52. Kenny Lisabeth (BEL) An Post M.donnelly in 3:37:19 at s.t.
53. Kim Kirchen (LUX) Team Columbia in 3:37:19 at s.t.
54. Nicolas Vogondy (FRA) Agritubel in 3:37:24 at 01:13
55. Emilien Berges (FRA) Agritubel in 3:37:24 at s.t.
56. Kristof Vandewalle (BEL) Topsport Vlaanderen in 3:37:24 at s.t.
57. Greg Henderson (NZL) Team Columbia in 3:37:29 at 01:18
58. Hugo Sabido (POR) Barloworld in 3:37:31 at 01:20
59. Robbie Hunter (RSA) Barloworld in 3:37:33 at 01:22
60. Neil Macdonald (RSA) Mtn Energade in 3:37:33 at s.t.
61. Daryl Impey (RSA) Barloworld in 3:37:33 at s.t.
62. Jay Thomson (RSA) Mtn Energade in 3:37:33 at s.t.
63. Chris Newton (GBR) Rapha – Condor – Recycling.co. in 3:37:33 at s.t.
64. Stuart O’grady (AUS) Team Csc – Saxo Bank in 3:37:43 at 01:32
65. David Millar (GBR) Garmin – Chipotle in 3:37:43 at s.t.
66. Trent Lowe (AUS) Garmin – Chipotle in 3:37:43 at s.t.
67. Bradley Mcgee (AUS) Team Csc – Saxo Bank in 3:37:53 at 01:42
68. Bradley Wiggins (GBR) Team Columbia in 3:37:53 at s.t.
69. James Millard (GBR) Plowman Craven Rt in 3:37:53 at s.t.
70. Simon Gaywood (GBR) Plowman Craven Rt in 3:37:53 at s.t.
71. Travis Meyer (AUS) Southaustralia.com – Ais in 3:37:53 at s.t.
72. Cameron Meyer (AUS) Southaustralia.com – Ais in 3:37:53 at s.t.
73. Alessandro Spezialetti (ITA) Lpr Brakes – Ballan in 3:37:53 at s.t.
74. Wesley Sulzberger (AUS) Southaustralia.com – Ais in 3:38:00 at 01:49
75. Peter Williams (GBR) Pinarello Rt – Candi Tv in 3:38:05 at 01:54
76. Geraint Thomas (GBR) Barloworld in 3:38:26 at 02:15
77. Diego Caccia (ITA) Barloworld in 3:38:37 at 02:26
78. Claudio Cucinotta (ITA) Lpr Brakes – Ballan in 3:38:37 at s.t.
79. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (BEL) Topsport Vlaanderen in 3:38:38 at 02:27
80. Freddy Bichot (FRA) Agritubel in 3:38:43 at 02:32
81. Lee Davis (GBR) Pinarello Rt – Candi Tv in 3:39:22 at 03:11
82. Romain Feillu (FRA) Agritubel in 3:39:58 at 03:47
83. Tom Murray (GBR) Pinarello Rt – Candi Tv in 3:40:01 at 03:50
84. Tom Barras (GBR) Plowman Craven Rt in 3:40:01 at s.t.
85. Andrew Roche (IRL) Pinarello Rt – Candi Tv in 3:40:01 at s.t.
86. Tomas Swift-metcalfe (GBR) Palmeiras Resort – Tavira in 3:40:01 at s.t.
87. Anders Lund (DEN) Team Csc – Saxo Bank in 3:40:13 at 04:02
88. Koen Barbe (BEL) Topsport Vlaanderen in 3:40:37 at 04:26
89. Steven Caethoven (BEL) Agritubel in 3:40:37 at s.t.
90. Paul Sneeboer (NED) Palmeiras Resort – Tavira in 3:41:20 at 05:09
91. Rhys Lloyd (GBR) Rapha – Condor – Recycling.co. in 3:46:28 at 10:17


GC Results: | (Stage Results)

1. Geoffroy Lequarte Agritubel in 13:43:06
2. Steve Cummings Barloworld in 13:43:12
3. Gabriele Bosisio Lpr Brakes – Ballan in 13:43:16 at 10
4. Ian Stannard Great Britain in 13:43:17 at 11
5. Daniel Fleeman An Post M.donnelly in 13:43:19 at 13
6. Benny De Schrooder An Post M.donnelly in 13:43:20 at 14
7. Daniel Martin Garmin – Chipotle in 13:43:20 at s.t.
8. Frederik Veuchelen Topsport Vlaanderen in 13:43:29 at 23
9. Emilien Berges Agritubel in 13:43:41 at 35
10. Giairo Ermeti Lpr Brakes – Ballan in 13:44:09 at 01:03
11. Russell Downing Pinarello Rt – Candi Tv in 13:44:30 at 01:24
12. Roger Hammond Team Columbia in 13:44:46 at 01:40
13. Kristian House Rapha – Condor – Recycling.co. in 13:44:50 at 01:44
14. Alejandro Marque Porto Palmeiras Resort – Tavira in 13:44:53 at 01:47
15. Jonathan Bellis Team Csc – Saxo Bank in 13:44:55 at 01:49
16. David George Mtn Energade in 13:44:55 at s.t.
17. Simon Richardson Plowman Craven Rt in 13:45:05 at 01:59
18. Chris Sutton Garmin – Chipotle in 13:45:05 at s.t.
19. Tom Southam Great Britain in 13:45:22 at 02:16
20. Kristof Vandewalle Topsport Vlaanderen in 13:45:49 at 02:43
21. Hugo Sabido Barloworld in 13:46:01 at 02:55
22. Kevin Evans Mtn Energade in 13:46:32 at 03:26
23. Freddy Bichot Agritubel in 13:47:10 at 04:04
24. Edval Boasson Hagen Team Columbia in 13:55:29 at 12:23
25. Danilo Di Luca Lpr Brakes – Ballan in 13:55:32 at 12:26
26. Julian Dean Garmin – Chipotle in 13:55:38 at 12:32
27. Matthew Goss Team Csc – Saxo Bank in 13:55:39 at 12:33
28. Kristof Goddaert Topsport Vlaanderen in 13:55:44 at 12:38
29. Daniel Lloyd An Post M.donnelly in 13:55:49 at 12:43
30. Oscar Sevilla Rock Racing in 13:55:49 at s.t.
31. Alessandro Petacchi Lpr Brakes – Ballan in 13:55:51 at 12:45
32. Malcolm Elliott Pinarello Rt – Candi Tv in 13:55:52 at 12:46
33. Vicente Reynes Team Columbia in 13:55:52 at s.t.
34. Jonathan Mcevoy Great Britain in 13:55:52 at s.t.
35. Andrew Tennant Great Britain in 13:55:52 at s.t.
36. Chris Sorensen Team Csc – Saxo Bank in 13:55:52 at s.t.
37. David Blanco Rodriguez Palmeiras Resort – Tavira in 13:55:52 at s.t.
38. Ben Swift Great Britain in 13:55:57 at 12:51
39. Stephen Gallagher An Post M.donnelly in 13:56:01 at 12:55
40. Zakkari Dempster Southaustralia.com – Ais in 13:56:14 at 13:08
41. Juan Van Heerden Mtn Energade in 13:56:14 at s.t.
42. Evan Oliphant Plowman Craven Rt in 13:56:14 at s.t.
43. Rob Partridge Rapha – Condor – Recycling.co. in 13:56:14 at s.t.
44. Johnnie Walker Southaustralia.com – Ais in 13:56:18 at 13:12
45. Serge Pauwels Topsport Vlaanderen in 13:56:28 at 13:22
46. Tyler Hamilton Rock Racing in 13:56:29 at 13:23
47. Waylon Woolcock Mtn Energade in 13:56:29 at s.t.
48. Rob Hayles Great Britain in 13:56:40 at 13:34
49. Fred Rodriguez Rock Racing in 13:56:42 at 13:36
50. Magnus Backstedt Garmin – Chipotle in 13:56:44 at 13:38
51. Kenny Lisabeth An Post M.donnelly in 13:56:48 at 13:42
52. Kim Kirchen Team Columbia in 13:56:48 at s.t.
53. Dale Appleby Rapha – Condor – Recycling.co. in 13:56:48 at s.t.
54. Simon Clarke Southaustralia.com – Ais in 13:56:48 at s.t.
55. Santiago Botero Rock Racing in 13:56:48 at s.t.
56. Nicolas Vogondy Agritubel in 13:56:53 at 13:47
57. Daryl Impey Barloworld in 13:56:56 at 13:50
58. Greg Henderson Team Columbia in 13:56:58 at 13:52
59. Robbie Hunter Barloworld in 13:57:02 at 13:56
60. Neil Macdonald Mtn Energade in 13:57:02 at s.t.
61. Chris Newton Rapha – Condor – Recycling.co. in 13:57:02 at s.t.
62. David Millar Garmin – Chipotle in 13:57:12 at 14:06
63. Stuart O’grady Team Csc – Saxo Bank in 13:57:12 at s.t.
64. Trent Lowe Garmin – Chipotle in 13:57:12 at s.t.
65. Travis Meyer Southaustralia.com – Ais in 13:57:22 at 14:16
66. Bradley Mcgee Team Csc – Saxo Bank in 13:57:22 at s.t.
67. Cameron Meyer Southaustralia.com – Ais in 13:57:22 at s.t.
68. Wesley Sulzberger Southaustralia.com – Ais in 13:57:27 at 14:21
69. James Millard Plowman Craven Rt in 13:57:42 at 14:36
70. Peter Williams Pinarello Rt – Candi Tv in 13:57:44 at 14:38
71. Geraint Thomas Barloworld in 13:57:55 at 14:49
72. Claudio Cucinotta Lpr Brakes – Ballan in 13:58:06 at 15:00
73. Diego Caccia Barloworld in 13:58:06 at s.t.
74. Pieter Vanspeybrouck Topsport Vlaanderen in 13:58:07 at 15:01
75. Bradley Wiggins Team Columbia in 13:58:08 at 15:02
76. Alessandro Spezialetti Lpr Brakes – Ballan in 13:58:08 at s.t.
77. Jay Thomson Mtn Energade in 13:58:51 at 15:45
78. Romain Feillu Agritubel in 13:59:26 at 16:20
79. Tom Murray Pinarello Rt – Candi Tv in 13:59:30 at 16:24
80. Tom Barras Plowman Craven Rt in 13:59:30 at s.t.
81. Anders Lund Team Csc – Saxo Bank in 13:59:36 at 16:30
82. Tomas Swift-metcalfe Palmeiras Resort – Tavira in 13:59:46 at 16:40
83. Steven Caethoven Agritubel in 14:00:06 at 17:00
84. Koen Barbe Topsport Vlaanderen in 14:00:06 at s.t.
85. Paul Sneeboer Palmeiras Resort – Tavira in 14:00:49 at 17:43
86. Lee Davis Pinarello Rt – Candi Tv in 14:02:18 at 19:12
87. Rhys Lloyd Rapha – Condor – Recycling.co. in 14:05:57 at 22:51
88. Hugo Pena Victor Rock Racing in 14:09:42 at 26:36
89. Dean Downing Rapha – Condor – Recycling.co. in 14:10:56 at 27:50
90. Simon Gaywood Plowman Craven Rt in 14:12:31 at 29:25
91. Andrew Roche Pinarello Rt – Candi Tv in 14:14:39 at 31:33