Wiggins: Boasson Hagen is the most talented rider in cycling
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wiggins: Boasson Hagen is the most talented rider in cycling

by Conal Andrews at 10:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

British rider Bradley Wiggins is accepted as the biggest name on the new Team Sky roster, but he suggests that another signing is where the biggest success may well lie in the future.

He previously raced with Edvald Boasson Hagen while with Columbia HTC in 2008 and is encouraged by both what he saw then and what the Norwegian has achieved since.

“Everyone knows that Edvald is the most talented rider in cycling right now,” said an impressed Wiggins to the website VG.no. “He is able to do exactly as he wants. He’s the team’s future and if he stays here, he can win all the races he can. He will be the big name in cycling over the next ten years. It’s almost scary to think about what he can achieve in ten years, by which time he’ll be 32 years old.”

Given Boassen Hagen’s success thus far, it’s hard to remember that he was a teenager just three years ago. Last year he took sixteen wins 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.

In terms of the number of wins, the 22 year old was the most successful after the sprint specialists Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel. His victories came on more varied terrain, though, thus underlining what a complete rider he is.

Given that riders typically gain strength until approximately 28 or 29 years old, expectations are high. “Edvald can do exactly as he wants,” continues Wiggins. “He may not win the Tour de France, but a year ago everyone would have had a good laugh if I said I would even finish in the top ten. Who knows? Edvald can be amongst the top five overall. Maybe he won’t win, but he can climb well enough to hang with the top riders.”

Sky director Scott Sunderland is determined to nurture that talent and to make sure that everything is done at the right pace and that too much pressure is not put on Boassen Hagen. Providing things are not rushed, he knows that he’s got a real gem in the making.

“I would not put him in a box and say that he should be one type of rider,” he explained. “He still has a supporting role, and he has a lot to learn.”

Wiggins is convinced that things will be done at the correct pace, given the level of support that he has. “He has been in one of the best teams in the world for the past two years, and now he is in an even better team. He has the right people around him.”

Boasson Hagen is due to begin his season at the Tour of Qatar, which runs from February 7th to 12th. He’ll then ride the Tour of Oman (Feb 15-19), the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Feb 17) and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne. Further ahead, the Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix are likely, as is a debut in the Tour de France.



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