Too Swift for Boasson Hagen
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Too Swift for Boasson Hagen

by Nick Mulder at 1:32 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Tour of Britain
Ben Swift (Katusha) ended Edvald Boasson Hagen’s (Columbia HTC) record four win streak at the Tour of Britain by taking out stage seven. The young Brit bested teammate and Italian national champion Filippo Pozzato and overall leader Hagen to the finish line in Yeovil, taking his first ever professional victory.

“It’s really special. I’ve come into the race with aims for general classification, but I’ve had bad luck on the second, third and fourth stages, then yesterday I had a good long hard day out in the break. As soon as I was eliminated from the GC then I was going for stage wins. This is the first time I’ve been able to finish it off, the team’s rode for me quite a few times now and I’ve never quite finished it off, so to pull it off in Britain is quite good,” a delighted Swift said after the finish.

An action packed stage saw several breakaway attempts including an early group of seven escapees that included Steve Cummings (Barloworld), Geraint Thomas (Barloworld), and former Tour of Briatin winner Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel) only to be caught by the Columbia-HTC and Katusha trains. British champion Kristian House (Rapha Condor) and Stian Remme (Joker Bianchi) countered and used the winding roads and tailwind to gain a five minute lead, but were eventually pulled back in the run in to Yeovil as Katusha and Barloworld controlled the front.

Thomas tried his luck once more on the final climb five kilometers from the finish, but the peloton was breathing down the young Brit’s neck and eventually swallowed him up in the last kilometers. Pozzato led his teammate Swift through the twisty roads to avoid a nasty pile up in the final kilometer. Pozzato dropped the Yorkshireman off with 200 meters left to the line, holding on for second as he threw his arms in the air celebrating his teammates win.

“Pozzato was looking after me all day, then he was going to try and get away on the last climb and was looking after me on the finish. Steve (Cummings) did a really good job for G (Geraint Thomas) and then Pozzato took it over coming into the corners, I think there was a bit of a crash in the first corner, but we went round it really quick and opened up a bit of a gap. Then into the second one we went a bit quick and skidded down the barriers and it just opened up a bit more of a gap and I just came around Pozzato with 150 to go. Pozzato kept on for second so it made it a bit more special,” Swift explained.

Pozzato was more than happy for his teammate, while the second place signals that the Italian will be a man to watch in the upcoming World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

“I really like Ben," said Pozzato, "He’s a nice guy and is going to be a real talent in the future. One-two is great for the team, but today is a special day for Ben. The team explained the finish to us perfectly. We were lined out and attacked, and I led Ben through the final corner.”

Boasson Hagen is poised to take the overall as he leads Kai Reus (Rabobank) by 23 seconds, while German champion Martin Reimer (Cervelo) is another two seconds back in third. Tomorrow’s two hour criterium finale in London will cap off a Norwegian tinted Tour of Britain that will likely see the sprinters battle again.

“I hope so that I can keep it [the lead] tomorrow. The team has been working very hard all week, so I’m really satisfied with four stage wins and the Yellow Jersey so far” said the young Norwegian leader.

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