Edvald Boasson Hagen gets an unfortunate visit from race helicopter during crucial time trial
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Edvald Boasson Hagen gets an unfortunate visit from race helicopter during crucial time trial

by Jered Gruber at 6:39 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Team Sky rider was caught up in a "hurricane" says director Servais Knaven

Edvald Boasson Hagen's performance at the Tour of Oman has been nothing short of impressive. The young Norwegian star rode a fantastic final climb on Friday to finish second, then put in an excellent time trial to finish 5th behind Gesink, Visconti, Pinotti, and Cancellara, 29 seconds adrift of the winning Dutchman.

The result could have been significantly better though according to Team Sky's new director sportif, Servais Knaven. The former Paris-Roubaix winner tells a tale of a wayward race helicopter that seriously impeded the all around talent's progress.

"Edvald posted a good time today, just two seconds back on Cancellara, but it could have been better. At the turning point, he was on the same time as Gesink, but as he went back up the hill, the helicopter swooped down to about ten meters above him, and it was like riding in a hurricane for him."

Knaven isn't lying when he describes the conditions beneath the woebegone chopper.

"All the sand and leaves whipped up, and he was right in the middle of it. His bike was wobbling uncontrollably, and he almost crashed. That cost him all his speed, and his concentration and cadence were obviously affected as well."

While Knaven bemoans the unfortunate flying of the helicopter, he doesn't go so far as to say that the overall result was in any way affected. It might have been possible for Boasson Hagen to contend for the win on the day, but Knaven says there's no way he could have gotten the two thirds of a minute necessary to take over the general classification lead.

"It could have been a close call otherwise, but with that said, Gesink was really strong, and Edvald would never have taken 40 seconds off him over the last eight kilometers."

Knaven and Sky have little to complain about after this week's racing though. Boasson Hagen has long been spoken of as a contender in virtually everything for the future, but the Spring Classics appear to be the logical next step for the young rider. With a performance like his in Oman, there's no doubting that he'll be playing a more prominent role at the head of affairs come March and April in Belgium.


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