Boasson Hagen heads depleted Sky Procycling team at Tour of Beijing
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Friday, October 05, 2012

Boasson Hagen heads depleted Sky Procycling team at Tour of Beijing

by VeloNation Press at 1:18 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Beijing
 
Swift rules himself out, leaving team with just five riders

Edvald Boasson HagenClearly in strong form after winning the GP Ouest France - Plouay and taking silver in the world road race championships, Edvald Boasson Hagen is seeking to keep the momentum going next week when he lines out in the Tour of Beijing.

A very strong rider on the flat and able to hold his own on all but the biggest climbs, the powerful Norwegian is certainly one to be wary of in China. Still only 25 years of age, his career results include stage victories in the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.

However the chances of delivering on his obvious class might be hampered somewhat by a Sky Procycling team that will feature just five riders, three short of the permitted eight. Were he to take the race lead, the task of defending the jersey will be more difficult as a result.

Ben Swift was pencilled in as a possibility, with directeur sportif Marcus Lungquist saying that he was still hopeful of making the team despite a crash last week in the Circuit Franco Belge and a related vertebral fracture.

“Ben is still up in the air, he was looking forward to the race, and we will see today,” he explained. “If he is feeling alright then he will fly tomorrow.”

However Swift has just stated via Twitter that he has been forced to back off. “My season has come to an end…was hoping to make Beijing but this fracture is not allowing me to b race fit.”

Boasson Hagen will draw on the support of past Vuelta stage winner Chris Sutton, British time trial champion Alex Dowsett, the Italian Salvatore Puccio and the Briton Luke Rowe.

Lingquist accepts it will be a challenge with a small team. “We are short in numbers but hopefully we will show ourselves as a strong team. With five guys we will do the best that we can do,” he said.

“Edvald on form is pretty good for the sprints as well as being a contender for the GC. We have a fast team with Luke (Rowe) and Alex for the lead outs so we have a strong team.”

He’s clear on what he would like the riders to achieve. “We always go to races looking for a result,” he explained, “so coming back from Beijing with a stage win and a place on GC would be a good result from us.”

The 2012 Tour of Beijing starts on Tuesday and runs for five days. It is the final WorldTour event of the year.


Sky Procycling Team for 2012 Tour of Beijing:

Alex Dowsett (Gbr, 23)
Salvatore Puccio (Ita, 23)
Luke Rowe (Gbr, 22)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor, 25)
Christopher Sutton (Aus, 28)

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