Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen on Tuesday saluted his teammates for helping him secure victory in the third stage of the Tour de France warm-up the Criterium du Dauphine in a sprint finish.
“The team worked well for me in the final straight, the last climb and descent,” the 26-year-old told reporters in Tarare, near Lyon. “Geraint [Thomas] worked hard to catch those in front and they carried me along well.”
Boasson Hagen — a previous stage winner of the Dauphine in 2010 and winner of this year’s Tour of Norway — beat Australia’s Michael Matthews and Belgium’s Gianni Meersman to the line at the end of the 167km ride from Amberieu-en-Bugey.
Canadian David Veilleux of Europcar, the first-stage winner, kept the overall leader’s jersey going into yesterday’s fourth stage, a 32.5km time-trial around the Parc des Oiseaux, near the town of Villars-les-Dombes.
Team Sky rider Boasson Hagen said the Tour de France this year would be different for him after working predominantly for former world champion sprinter Mark Cavendish and eventual winner Bradley Wiggins and runner-up Chris Froome last year.
“Of course, winning a stage of the Tour remains a major objective. As for the classics, I hope to do better. We trained well in Tenerife, but I was ill then I had a sore knee. Winning a classic is more difficult. I think it’s compatible with the Tour even if I haven’t yet managed it,” he said.
For his part Veilleux pledged to give his all in yesterday’s time-trial, but said he did not know whether he would be able to hang on to the leader’s spot.
“I haven’t prepared specifically for this type of effort. I find it difficult to assess myself. I don’t have the chance to race at this level against these type of riders,” he said. “These two stages have allowed me to recover from my effort on Sunday, so I should have fresh legs.”
Veilleux is still not certain to be selected by his team for the Tour, but said he had been delighted to see the response to his efforts from fans, particularly back home in Quebec.