Boasson Hagen does all he can with Worlds runner up performance
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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Boasson Hagen does all he can with Worlds runner up performance

by Kyle Moore at 2:51 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
Norwegian sprints to second place after Gilbert gets away on the Cauberg

Edvald Boasson HagenEdvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) was the best of the rest in the World Road Race Championships on Sunday, grabbing second behind new world champion Philippe Gilbert (Belgium). Gilbert attacked on the final ascent of the Cauberg and no one could follow, so the Norwegian quickly had to settle on a race for second with Alejandro Valverde (Spain).

Boasson Hagen used his sprinting prowess to handle the Spaniard in the finale, crossing four seconds behind Gilbert after the Belgian had taken ample time to celebrate the satisfying victory in front of a raucous crowd.

With still more than a kilometer to race after cresting the Cauberg for the final time, it looked momentarily like Boasson Hagen, along with Russian Alexander Kolobnev, would be able to close down Gilbert. But the Belgian extended his effort over the top, and the distance proved too much for all chasers.

“I’m very happy with the silver medal,” Boasson Hagen admitted at the post-race press conference. “I was a bit far back when Phil attacked and it was impossible to follow. I hoped some guys would close the gap and we could sprint in a small group. But it was just me, Valverde and Kolobnev. This is the best I could do so I’m satisfied. The course [and the finish] was less difficult than expected because of the wind at our backs. I thought it would be harder.”

Even with a tougher finale, pulling back Gilbert in only a kilometer would have proven difficult. The Belgian put a rough early season behind him with a sparkling late summer, including two wins in the Vuelta a España and his first rainbow jersey.

Still, several crashes and ten times up the Cauberg gradually whittled down the peloton all day, but Gilbert, Boasson Hagen, and his Norwegian team-mate Lars Petter Nordhaug were at the front and out of trouble.

“I felt really comfortable all day today – it was obviously hard to race full throttle on the Cauberg, but I felt good all day and sat at the front,” Boasson Hagen added.

With the likely exit from Team Sky by sprinter Mark Cavendish, Boasson Hagen, himself handy in a bunch sprint, was asked about his role within the squad.

“I’m happy with my role in [Team Sky],” said the quiet Norwegian. “I do what I’m told and I get my own chances in the Spring Classics, so no, I wouldn’t want it to change.”

Though Norway’s national squad was stuck with the disadvantage of just three riders, the team placed two of them into contention, as GP Montréal winner Nordhaug finished 20th. The third Norwegian, Gabriel Rasch, completed his work early in the race and did not finish.

“It was absolutely perfect for us,” Nordhaug told Procycling.no. “Gabriel raced perfectly for us in the first half of the race. He protected me and Edvald in the wind.

“It was all about being in good position [on the Cauberg], and my job was to cover the breaks and shield Edvald. It is difficult when there is only one man to help. We lost each other a little on the final roundabout. Until then it went absolutely perfect, but it’s a little difficult when other countries have more people.”

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