Edvald Boasson Hagen was the unsung hero of Team Sky’s successful Tour campaign.
He slaved in the mountains for Bradley Wiggins, beavered away for Mark Cavendish on the thoroughbred sprint stages and would probably have won a couple of hilltop-finish stages in a cycling world sans Sagan.
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The quiet Norwegian’s precocious talent and versatility – able to challenge in a sprint, the mountains or hills – is what made him both such an asset to Wiggins and such a threat when he’s given a freer hand as he showed with a strong man’s show at the GP Plouay on Sunday.
As a five-man breakaway including livewire Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), was absorbed into the final ten kilometres, the Norwegian champion jumped across to late attacker Rui Costa (Movistar) over the top of the last climb, the Ty-Marrec.
Boasson Hagen’s blast
Just as Tour de Suisse winner Costa hesitated – unwilling to pull a much better sprinter to the finish – and the bunch looked to be coming back, Boasson Hagen surged again and rode the final two kilometres alone to victory.
Behind, Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Sharp) outsprinted countryman Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) for third, just failing to catch Costa before the finish line.
The GP Plouay is one of the cycling calendar’s hidden gems. Raced on a circuit in the middle of Brittany, a hive of French cycling support, it draws big, passionate crowds, giving a feel of a mini World Championships.
Vos secures women’s World Cup
In Saturday’s women’s race, Olympic champion Marianne Vos showed no post-London 2012 rustiness.
The 25 year old Rabobank rider attacked breakaway companions Tiffany Cromwell (Orica-AIS) and Elisa Longo (Hitec Products) with ten kilometres to go and won alone.
In doing so, she sealed a comfortable fourth victory in the women’s World Cup. Vos led the season-long competition from start to finish, winning three of the seven individual races.
British champion Sharon Laws (AA Drink-Leontien.nl) finished twentieth, while teammate Lizzie Armitstead failed to finish.
GP Ouest France-Plouay, 243km
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky 5-55-28
2. Rui Costa (Por) Movistar at 5secs
3. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
4. Matt Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
5. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol
6. Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Radioshack-Nissan
8. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana
9. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis
10. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha all same time
121. Alex Dowsett (Gbr) Team Sky at 7-07
Women’s GP de Plouay-Bretagne, 135km
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank 3-39-45
2. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Orica-AIS at 35secs
3. Elisa Longo (Ita) Hitec Products at 39secs
4. Anna Van der Breggen (Ned) Netherlands at 2-40
5. Evelyn Stevens (Usa) Specialized-Lululemon
6. Luisa Tamanini (Ita) Faren-Honda at 2-43
7. Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Faren-Honda at 4-09
8. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-Lululemon
9. Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) MCipollini-Giambenini
10. Judith Arndt (Ger) Orica-AIS
20. Sharon Laws (Gbr) AA Drink-Leontien.nl all at same time
49. Nicole Cooke (Gbr) Faren-Honda at 13-26