Edvald Boasson Hagen celebrated his 22nd birthday two days early on Friday, winning the Giro d’Italia stage to Chiavenna with another showing of his immense talent.
If you followed the 2008 Tour of Britain, you may remember how Boasson Hagen won three stages, leaving current Giro d?Italia race leader Danilo Di Luca punch drunk and out of the Italian world championships team with three long sprints.
?He beat me three times out of three in Britain, so I know how good he is,? Di Luca said.
?I was sure he?d win when I heard he?d got away. He would have won yesterday in Mayrhofen if eventual winner Michele Scarponi had not been away. He?s very strong and has an explosive 500 metre sprint. He?s going to win a lot in his career.?
Despite winning Ghent-Wevelgem in April, Boasson Hagen is still pretty modest about his talents and does not know if he will develop into a classics or stage race rider. In truth he could perhaps do both.
?This is my first grand Tour so I want to get through it and see how I do. But I also like the classics. In a while I?ll see if I?m a classics rider or a stage race rider. We?ll see in the future.?
?Winning Ghent-Wevelgem and winning here in Italy are both very important and you can?t really compare them. I?m just really happy to be winning.?
He revealed he went on the attack happened almost by chance, after helping Michael Rogers get back on after a puncture.
?I was quite far behind in the descent when Rogers flatted, so I tried to move up to group again then Valerio sad to go on front to catch the attacker. I went through peloton, kept going and got a gap. We rode well together in front and the peloton stopped a bit. That really helped and then in the sprint I felt good and I won.?
Asked a possible internal rivalry at Team Columbia with Mark Cavendish, Boasson Hagen said: ?He?s the fastest sprinter in the world and my job is to help him. I can?t beat him and don?t want to be beat him. When I get my own chances I take them. He?s a good guy and good sprinter, it?s actually nice to help him.?
The truth is that Team Columbia has the fastest sprinter in the world for bunch sprints and one of the biggest talents in the sport for tougher stages and uphill finishes.
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Stage seven: Boasson Hagen takes treacherous stage
Stage six: Scarponi wins longest stage with big break
Stage five: Menchov wins mountain battle as Di Luca grabs the pink jersey
Stage four: Di Luca denies Soler on the line; Lovkvist takes pink jersey
Stage three: Cavendish loses pink jersey after being caught behind late crash
Stage two: Petacchi denies Cavendish the stage win
Stage one: Cavendish in pink as Columbia prove their point to Garmin
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