Boasson Hagen focused on bike racing, not doping news
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Saturday, December 01, 2012

Boasson Hagen focused on bike racing, not doping news

by Kyle Moore at 12:10 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Sky Procycling’s soft-spoken star comments on squad’s doping stance

Edvald Boasson HagenWhile parts of cycling’s dark past have come back recently, and with current teams taking harsher stances on the matter of doping, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky Procycling) takes in the news but prefers to keep his eyes on the road, and on the upcoming season, which will be his fourth at Sky.

The 25-year-old Norwegian star had nine wins in 2012, but he maintains a quiet demeanor. Boasson Hagen’s understated manner makes his success no less impressive, though his spotlight does not shine as bright as other, more outspoken top riders.

The Norwegian boasts a solid reputation, but has had recent proximity to newsmakers. Former Norwegian Cycling Federation director of sport Steffen Kjærgaard admitted to doping during his years with Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service teams. And Boasson Hagen’s Sky Procycling squad has made waves for its new zero tolerance policy for riders or staff members with past trouble.

The zero tolerance policy resulted in the resignations of Bobby Julich, Sean Yates, and Steven De Jongh, and brought mixed reactions from pundits in the cycling world.

Boasson Hagen admitted that such news – scandal and the prevention of it – is sometimes on his mind, though it does not rule his thoughts.

“I have it with me, but I have not read much about it,” the Norwegian said in comments to procycling.no. “It is rare that I read cycling content online. It’s more that I hear it through news broadcasts on television. It has not taken much of my time.”

Just before Kjærgaard admitted to his past affairs, he reportedly made several calls to inform Norwegian national team athletes first, including to Boasson Hagen. The rider spoke of it briefly in a television interview afterward, saying that, “It would have looked strange if I had not said anything at all.”

“When one after another from US Postal admitted [to cheating], I was not surprised that he was in on it. He also rode the Tour de France there.”

Along with praising another Sky Procycling star, Bradley Wiggins, calling him, “the team’s future,” Boasson Hagen expressed a common sentiment regarding the subject of past doping.

“It is a pity that there has been so much crap before, and it’s good that it’s getting cleaned up now, and I hope that the focus will be on the sport in the future,” he added. “It’s better that all the mess is cleaned up now so we get finished with it, hopefully before the season starts up again.”

When it came to discussing Sky’s zero tolerance policy with riders, and especially veteran staff, Boasson Hagen was clear, though the sprinter did show a hint of regret at losing so many valuable cycling minds.

“I support all our efforts against doping,” he stated. “But there are also strong resources that are lost. They will probably go to other teams. When the team has this policy, it is good [that any suspicion is removed]. [Julich et al.] have never done anything wrong, and they never tried to do anything wrong while they have been on our team. But it is our policy and I fully support it.”

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