Boasson Hagen aiming to step up a level in 2010, will make Tour debut
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Boasson Hagen aiming to step up a level in 2010, will make Tour debut

by Conal Andrews at 7:01 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

A sparkling 2009 season has seen Edvald Boasson Hagen climb to sixth in the UCI world rankings. It’s a hugely impressive statistic, given that he won’t be 23 until next May, but he’s aiming to keep building on that next season.

The six-foot Norwegian is expected to make his debut for Team Sky in the Tour of Qatar, and plans to do all the major races between then and the Tour.

“I’ll get to hear more about my season plans this week, but I will certainly do the Classics (Flanders, Ghent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix), the Tour de France and all the races in between," he told Nettavisen.no.

The remainder of the season will be worked out at a later date, but its likely he will also ride the world road race championships in Australia. As one of the quickest sprinters in the sport as well as a proven Classics rider, he must be considered as a likely contender next September.

Boasson Hagen scooped sixteen victories for Columbia HTC this year, including single day wins in the Gent Wevelgem Classic and the Norwegian time trial title.

He showed his stage race pedigree with dominant performances in the Tour of Britain (four stages, the overall and points classifications), the Eneco Tour of Benelux (two stages, overall and points classifications), as well as individual and team time trial stage wins at the Giro d’Italia, plus two stages in the Tour of Poland.

Results such as these, plus his young age, mean that many tip him for the very top of the sport. It’s as yet unsure if he can become an overall contender in races such as the Tour de France, but riding the race for the first time next July will give him some insight into that.

Given his rate of progression, it’s certainly a safe bet to say that he’ll leave his mark on the race in the years ahead, in one way or another.

He’s currently in Manchester, meeting his new team-mates for the first time. Boasson Hagen is one of the biggest names who has committed to the new Team Sky project, deciding to take a chance and move from the tried and tested Columbia HTC. The feeling is that he has outgrown that squad, given that it is so focussed on riding for Mark Cavendish; the Norwegian is also a very fast sprinter, and will now have a chance to go head to head with the Briton.

A quiet and shy person, he’s nevertheless looking forward to getting acquainted with the rest of Team Sky. “It will be interesting,” he said. “I know Lars Petter (Nordhaug), Kurt (Asle Arvesen), Michael Barry, Thomas Lövkvist and Greg Henderson from before, but there’s a lot of new [riders] too.”

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