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Cycling

Tour de France: Edvald Boasson Hagen wins stage 19, Froome retains lead

Norwegian rider Edvald Boasson Hagen claimed the 19th stage of the Tour de France, as the riders dropped out of the mountains and on to France's southern coast. Chris Froome and Team Sky did enough in the peloton.

Team Dimension Data rider Edvald Boasson Hagen was part of a group of around 20 riders who broke away from the peloton during stage 19's route out of the Alps, through Provence, and down to the south coast of France. 

Frankreich Tour de France Nikias Arndt (Reuters/C. Hartmann)

Germany's Nikias Arndt was forced to settle for second on the day

With around three kilometers remaining on the 222.5-kilometer (140-mile) run, Boasson Hagen went solo and held his bid for a maiden stage win in this year's Tour. He lost out to Germany's Marcel Kittel in a photo-finish sprint on the seventh stage - and hadn't won a Tour stage since the 2011 race.

Germany's Nikias Arndt, of Team Sunweb, finished 5 seconds adrift, with Belgian Jens Keukliere - who was awarded the most aggressive rider of the day prize - in third. 

Leisurely ride for the peloton

The leading group rolled in roughly 10 minutes in front of the main peloton of riders, which was led by a gaggle of Team Sky bikes at most points. None of the challengers to Chris Froome's yellow jersey had joined the breakaway.

Frankreich Tour de France Chris Froome (Reuters/C. Hartmann)

Team Sky's plethora of stars controlled the peloton's pace and pulled Froome along

Froome therefore retains a 23-second lead over French rider Romain Bardet, and a 29-second advantage against Rigoberto Uran of Colombia. Saturday's crucial time trials in Marseille will provide the last chance for a challenge to Froome, but it might prove tricky to erode Froome's lead over the course of a 22.5-kilometer sprint.

Analysis: Why Team Sky will continue to be unbeatable for the foreseeable future

Michael Matthews sews up green sprinter's jersey

Team Sunweb's Michael Matthews need only finish this year's Tour to claim the green jersey awarded to the best sprinter in the field. His advantage in the classification became insurmountable during the course of the stage - provided he reaches the Paris finish line he will take the prize. Matthews inherited the lead in the green jersey standings when sprint specialist Marcel Kittel was forced to retire after a crash during stage 17. Andre Greipel, Matthews' closest challenger, is 160 points adrift. 

Warren Barguil, who won Thursday's 18th stage, has similarly all-but secured the polka-dot "King of the Mountains" jersey - provided he can complete the course. 

 

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