Edvald Boasson Hagen resisted the tactics of Team Sky and instead increased his lead to 13 seconds from Woet Poels in the Aviva Tour of Britain

Devoid of teammates, and 20 riders all trying to dispose him of the yellow jersey he held by the slenderest margin of one second, Edvald Boasson Hagen beat and then bettered Team Sky’s tactics all on his own on Friday’s Aviva Tour of Britain stage six.

When all of five of Boasson Hagen’s MTN-Qhubeka teammates were distanced on the day’s first uncategorised climb of Gun Hill inside the first 20km, Sky upped the pace to unprecedented levels to try and deposit the Norwegian out of the back of the leading 30-man bunch, thus setting Woet Poels up to gain the yellow jersey at his expense.

Boasson Hagen, though, delivered the first blow to Sky, crossing the opening sprint at Buxton in first to claim three bonus seconds; Poels, much the inferior sprinter, claimed one bonus second with third place.

Having increased his lead to three seconds, several breaks formed, all containing numerous riders a threat to the general classification, and Sky had to maintain the unremitting pace through the crosswind-affected Peak District lanes.

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The perpetual attacks meant that there was no let-up but Boasson Hagen remained studious, tucking in behind the four Sky riders: Ben Swift, Ian Stannard, Pete Kennaugh and Poels.

When it became obvious that no one bar Poels could take time from him in the last 15km, the race’s 2009 winner shackled himself off Sky’s leash in the closing stages to take second behind winner Matteo Trentin, four seconds in front of the chasing pack, and picking up a further six bonus seconds; he has now taken 19 bonus seconds.

Peter Kennaugh, stage six of the 2015 Tour of Britain

Peter Kennaugh, stage six of the 2015 Tour of Britain

This weekend’s two final stages, from Fakenham to Ipswich today [Saturday] and a London criterium on Sunday, are likely to end in sprints or a victory for a breakaway, meaning that Boasson Hagen has all but secured his second Tour of Britain triumph.

In spite of their efforts in failing to garner the result they desperately tried, Sky coach Rod Ellingworth was quick to praise Boasson Hagen’s performance. He said: “I didn’t see a lot because I was in the second car but fair play to Edvald, a great ride. It was incredible, what with him being on his own for so long.

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“I don’t think his team have done a particular good job for him but he’s done a great ride.”

Of the stage tactics, Ellingworth added: “Even if they’d [Sky] gone out with the purpose to race it full on, if it works, it works. If Edvald had got dropped and we’d done exactly the same thing, everybody would have said ‘wow, what a great performance’ so you just never know.

“If the course had been the other way round, as in the climbs towards the end, I think we would have been a lot more confident, but with the climbs being where they were it was only ever going to be a challenge for us, just purely because of how well Edvald is at that type of stuff.

“You can look back and say that there’s 50 things we could have done.

“From what the lads have said, yes there is things they could have differently but they chose to do something and it perhaps hasn’t quite worked for them.”

Steven Kruijswijk, LottoNL-Jumbo’s man who was 38 seconds shy of Boasson Hagen after stage five’s summit finish atop Hartside Fell, provided an insight into life in the front group.

“It never was a good situation for Sky because one time I was in the break and they closed the gap and then they had to ride again,” he told Cycling Weekly.

“It was really hard to get away and [even when] the roads in the end got a little bit easier there was a headwind.

“In the end Boasson Hagen accelerated and no-one followed. Sky had let him escape so he is comfortable now.”

  • Anthony Jackson

    loads of major sponsor have come and gone in cycling, its the same for motorsport. It will be a shame when they go, they have contributed so much to the way Elite Pros all the way to local club racers train and prepare. So what if they have shaken a few rusty old bikes along the way…. the sport needed a shake up both in sports science and tactically.

  • Bob

    LMAO sky do it for one reason only and its not for the love of cycling or any sport – its a bigger fall when they eventually move on to the next big thing.

  • Toby

    I agree that Goss and Farrar aren’t performing to previous levels, but maybe they’re not in the team to win sprints. With EBH, Ciolek, Goss and Farrar they have an excellent lead out, but none of these could hope to beat Kittel, Greipel, Degenkolb or Cav in a straight up sprint. Perhaps that’s why they’re trying hard to get Cav, broaden horizons and make them more competetive across the board.

  • Aurelio

    Toby,
    I did not say that the team is doing a bad job. Read my first post.
    What I said is that it was good to see EBH getting a good result winning the Tour of Britain and Farrar and Goss were not performing as well.
    Poisonjunction after that start talking about me not knowing cycling because the team is happy with Farrar and Goss.
    I think that MTN´s is having a dream season, winning stages in both grand tours that it competed and other achievements.
    And I also think that having Mark Cavendish will be good for it.
    But I have to desagree when someone says that the team is happy with Goss when he is not performing well and does not win a race since last year. And I think that is why they are not keeping him for the next season. And even if Farrar is now a leadout guy, a good leadout guy helps his sprinter wins, and they are not winning lots of sprints.
    So, saying that both of them are making MTN´s happy is a stretch.
    But that´s all I said. The team is amazing and is getting good results.

  • Toby

    And Meintjes! I forgot about Meintjes.
    It’s not all about the big names.

  • Toby

    You do seem fundamentally misinformed about MTN’s achievements this year. Just look at Steve Cummings in the Tour, Serge Pauwels and Daniel Teklehaimanot as well. And Sbaragli in the Vuelta!
    There is also talk of Mark Cavendish joining the team with Mark Renshaw (Etixx bosses apparently not happy with Cav’s Olympic ambitions). Every team needs to start somewhere and it seems obvious that riders got the job because of past accomplishments. But MTN are building a really good team here and their achievements this year speak volumes.

  • Aurelio

    First of all, I am not hiding from anybody, I use my name and you can find me @avfeldman. Second of all, if Goss is doing such a fine job why his contract is not going to be renewed? And I also believed that they wanted more from Farrar than just leadout dutties, we are talking about a guy who won stages at the Tour, Vuelta, Giro and classic races. And yes, I would say that to their faces. What they did in the past got the job and I think that the team needed more from both of them.
    And talking about TdF results and Vueta you should know that MTN did not take Goss to both of the races, so I am sure that the team expected more from a guy who won a monument and other races.
    If a team has a sprinter it wants wins from him, ask Lefevere if Cavendish had won 3 or 4 stages at the Tour this year if he would not keep him with a big contract.
    What I wrote was not a personal attack against either riders, I just think that with such big names and victories comes a big payday and both of them did not deliver that in 2015.

  • poisonjunction

    It’s very diificult to comprehend some of the comments posted here. Boassen Hagen benefitted from riding with Sky for 5 years 2010/14 – his successes with them are many and are listed elsewhere!

  • poisonjunction

    You seem to have little understanding of bike racing. I doubt you would be critical face to face with the riders you disrespect, WHY use anonymity here?

    Why disrespect MTN ‘Q’s other ‘imports’, if you had checked TdF and Vuelta results for the bigger picture, you would have found the other ‘names’ are more than pulling their weight, much to their managers delight, who has no complaints.

  • Hassan Sharrif

    Your comment is rubbish,would you replace Sky’s budget in cycling of 100s of millions of pounds with your own money that’s a no stfu then.

  • Eric

    News Of The World…of Team Sky’s success.

  • Andrew Bairsto

    Absolute rubbish the sooner Murdoch and sky disappear the world will be a better place .

  • Aurelio

    Good to see him get a good result after a few down years. I think that he is the only big name that is doing a great job at MTN, Farrar and Goss seems like they are retired riders still riding.

  • Gary Jogela

    Great all-rounder Edvald

  • dourscot

    Excellent reward for the Norwegian and his team.

  • dourscot

    Unsophisticated comment.

    If Murdoch hadn’t put the money into Team Sky British cycling and its many talents would be in a far worse position. Better that the empire does some good.

  • Bob

    WD Edvald – always nice to see Sky on the losing end – Murdock, sky and news international (corp) have the morals of an alleycat and when its no longer hot, they will pull out of cycling altogether like they are doing with team GB, & I for one wont miss ’em