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Hagen of Norway wins long rain-soaked 6th stage of Tour de France, Hushovd still in yellow
LISIEUX, France (AP) ' Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway led a sprint to win the rain-splattered sixth stage of the Tour de France and his countryman Thor Hushovd retained the yellow jersey on Thursday.
The pack battled slippery roads and brisk winds over the hilly, 141-mile ride across northwest France into Normandy ' the longest stage in the race this year.
Hagen, a sprint specialist with Team Sky, sprinted out of the barreling pack near the finish line and held on, jutting his arms in the air as he crossed for his first Tour stage victory.
"I really surprised myself," Hagen said. "Lots of people say that I'm a talented guy, so it's nice to show it by winning a stage."
Matt Goss of Australia was second, and Hushovd third.
Overall, Hushovd retained a one-second lead over Cadel Evans of Australia, while Frank Schleck of Luxembourg was third, four seconds back. Three-time champion Alberto Contador, who lost time in a Stage 1 crash, was 39th overall, 1:42 behind.
A string of breakaway riders sought to get a leg up but the pack eventually reeled them all in ' the last ones getting caught within the last mile.
Despite the rain, the stage was marked by fewer crashes than a day earlier, when many riders including Contador and Britain's Bradley Wiggins went down.
Still, it was yet another bad day for the U.S. RadioShack team because American veteran Levi Leipheimer crashed with about 3 miles left and lost time in the title hunt.
A day earlier, RadioShack's star Janez Brajkovic of Slovenia withdrew after a nasty spill left him with a concussion and broken collarbone.