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Impressive Boasson Hagen wins Giro stage

  • Story Highlights
  • Edvald Boasson Hagen secures victory in the seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia
  • The Norwegian out-sprints his four breakaway companions in the rain-hit stage
  • No change in the overall standings with Danilo Di Luca still in the pink jersey
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(CNN) -- Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen further boosted his emerging profile in world cycling with an impressive victory in Friday's seventh stage of the Giro d'Italia.

Boasson Hagen secures his first Giro stage victory by taking the seventh stage of the race.

Boasson Hagen secures his first Giro stage victory by taking the seventh stage of the race.

The Columbia rider, who only turns 22 on Sunday, out-foxed his four more experienced breakaway companions to cross the line first on the rain-lashed 244km stage from Innsbruck in Austria back across the Italian border to Chiavenna.

Boasson Hagen, who first came to prominence with three stage victories in last year's Tour of Britain, has already won the prestigious Ghent-Wevelgem classic this season, and he produced a superb turn of pace to forge clear of South African sprinter Robbie Hunter, with Russian Pavel Brutt third.

There was no change in the overall classification with 2007 winner Danilo di Luca retaining his five-second advantage over Sweden's Thomas Lovkvist with Michael Rogers of Australia third.

An early break of four riders made an initial move soon after the race start and Mauro Facci, Bartosz Huzarski, Serguei Klimov and Vladimir Isaichev at one stage opened up a nine-minute gap on the peloton.

However, they were reeled in on the climb of the Passo Maloja, the only ascent of the day, as the wet weather made conditions hazardous.

The five leaders made their winning break coming off the climb, 20km from the finish, with Alessandro Bertolini establishing a one-minute advantage on the remaining quartet on the nerve-wracking descent.

But he was eventually caught by Boasson Hagen, who scored his first-ever Giro success just a day after finishing second to Michele Scarponi in Thursday's sixth stage.

Saturday's eighth stage is a 209 km ride from Morbegno to Bergamo.

Meanwhile, Lance Armstrong's Astana team has admitted they have been forced into desperate measures to publicize the financial dispute with their key sponsors.

Seven-time Tour de France winner Armstrong and his team-mates started the stage with new shirts and the name of key sponsor, Astana, virtually blocked out.

Astana currently face an uncertain future following reports their Kazakh sponsors have failed to pay team wages several times this year.

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