Boasson Hagen's Milan-Sanremo: A good day for a bad day
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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Boasson Hagen's Milan-Sanremo: A good day for a bad day

by Steve Jones at 11:49 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Milan-Sanremo

Edvald Boasson HagenToday Edvald Boasson Hagen went into one of cycling's monuments, Milan-Sanremo, as a team captain and one of the favorites for the first time. He had done everything right in the lead-up to the event, putting in a solid winter and following it up with strong results in the Tours of Qatar and Oman, and then Tirreno-Adriatico. Unfortuantely for the young Norwegian, he suffered from stomach problems which put him out of contention.

"I felt ok until I had stomach trouble, so it was too bad," Boasson Hagen told VG Nett after the race. Expectations were high for the Team Sky rider, but that's bike racing, the uncontrollable will happen and, with a wealth of experienced professionals around him, he'll learn, grow as a rider, and bounce back quickly.

When taking a look at the finale of today's race, it seemed like a good day for Boasson Hagen to have a bad day. Triple world champion Oscar Freire has avoided bad luck this season, and had won four of the five sprints he had contested this year. He wasn't feeling well in Tirreno-Adriatico due to illness, but the Spaniard still participated, biding his time and building form for his appointment with la Primavera.

The 34-year-old had already won Milan-Sanremo twice and, oddly enough, has now taken victory in Sanremo every third year since 2004, with today being his third. The numbers of the past seemed to point toward another Freire win, and as soon as the Spaniard launched his sprint, there was no question that he was not to be denied. You could debate whether or not the Team Sky rider's presence might have changed the outcome, but after easily putting two bike lengths on an on form Boonen, he looked unstoppable.

Boasson Hagen has had stomach problems in the past, and a special diet had been working well for him until now. Team principal David Brailsford told the paper he didn't think it was the pressure that caused the problem.

Big expectations can weigh on a young impressionable rider, and many, including the incomparable Eddy Merckx, say the Norwegian has the potential to be one of the greats in the sport. At 22 years of age he already has a palmares that many professionals will never achieve, so for Boasson Hagen, he can twelve years time he'll be Freire's age, so to say time is on his side would be, to put it mildly, an understatement.


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