Team Sky aims to protect Boasson Hagen’s lead on crucial stage
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Team Sky aims to protect Boasson Hagen’s lead on crucial stage

by Conal Andrews at 6:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

A thundering sprint at the end of yesterday’s third stage of the Tour of Oman saw Edvald Boasson Hagen scorch to a dominant victory, reinforcing his overall lead in the race.

He’s shown that he is the strongest rider thus far, but will face a different sort of test today when the 2.1-ranked event moves into the mountains.

The riders took a military flight this morning to bring them to the start in Ibri. They will cover 187 kilometres to Nakhal on what is the hilliest stage in the six-day tour. Boasson Hagen’s strength is well documented on flatter terrain and so if he retains the race lead today, his chances of winning outright will improve dramatically.

Team-mate Geraint Thomas said that Team Sky is completely behind him. "Edvald is in a good position now, with a decent lead over most of the peloton and he can time trial really well. We just need to try our best to control it now over the next few days,” he stated on the team website.

"It's great to get the win [yesterday]. We've worked so hard over the last couple of weeks in first Qatar and now Oman…when it all comes together like that, it's really nice.”

Boasson Hagen has spent a lot of time doing cross-country skiing this winter, being unable to train as much as he might have liked on the bike due to bad weather at home in Norway. That clearly didn’t hamper his form, though; he is ten seconds clear of closest rivals Tyler Farrar (Garmin Transitions) and Daniele Benatti (Liquigas) heading into the second half of the race.

Thomas said that the team is very motivated and united. "Being a new team makes it [Boasson Hagen’s performance] extra special and morale's really high, so it's all good."

The Tour of Oman is organised in consultation with ASO, and so a strong performance there by Team Sky will boost the team’s chances of getting an invite to the Tour de France.

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