The Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders put in an impressive performance on stage 16 of Tour de France, which took place on Mandela Day. The team was always attentive near the front and at the end, Edvald Boasson Hagen finished in second place after narrowly missing out on the victory.
Starting out with a 20 kilometers’ ascent, numerous riders attacked right from the beginning of the day. The fast pace proved too much for the green jersey, Marcel Kittel (Quick Step Floor) who quickly got dropped. This prompted Team Sunweb to go to the front in order to pull for their designated sprinter, Michael Matthews. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Steve Cummings took part in the workload at the front of the peloton, which ultimately saw the group with Kittel getting dropped for good.
With today’s stage taking place on Mandela Day, the team was very motivated to do well. On the final 15 km, the peloton split up into several groups in the crosswind, leaving just a dozen of riders at the front. Boasson Hagen made the cut and so did Scott Thwaites and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg.
Daniele Bennati (Movistar) tried to take the front group by surprise on the last two kilometers but Janse van Rensburg closed him down and delivered Boasson Hagen in a good position for the sprint. Unfortunately, the strong Norwegian lost a few positions in the final corners but thanks to a powerful sprint, he still managed to take second place, narrowly beaten by Matthews. John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) was third.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) finished in the front group and thereby kept the yellow jersey for another day. Tomorrow, the riders will take on the first big stage in the Alps. 183 km and four difficult climbs await the peloton on their way from La Mure to Serre-Chevalier.
Edvald Boasson Hagen:
“This was a really hard stage. The team did very well to keep me at the front all day. Everybody did such a great job. Unfortunately, in the last corner, I was a bit too far down. I knew I had to be at the front at that point but sometimes these things happen. I was probably the fasted rider on the last stretch and I almost made it. It’s a shame. This was a good chance for me”.