A week to the day after he lost the lead in the Tour of Qatar, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) is now heading the Tour of Oman after finishing third in stage two’s bunch sprint.
Boasson Hagen was clearly unable to match Italian Daniele Benatti’s final acceleration, and the Liquigas rider took the slightly uphill, chaotic sprint with more than enough time to look back and celebrate the win in style as he crossed the line.
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However, the Norwegian’s third place behind Bennati and Tyler Farrar (Garmin) has put the Sky leader in pole position overall, as well as gaining him the points jersey.
The Best Young Rider’s jersey was already Boasson Hagen’s since taking second on Sunday night in the opening bunch sprint, making for a lot of trips to the podium on Monday evening – but nobody in Team Sky is complaining about that.
“It was a very complicated sprint, with a lot of fighting in the bunch and we’d had a hard day, fast before that,” Boasson Hagen told Cycling Weekly.
“There were headwinds and we had a guy in the front of the bunch trying to pull back the break, to be honest it was a little boring at times.”
“Then in the last kilometres, things got faster, the whole Sky train came to the fore and we repeated our previous tactic that we’ve used in other days.”
“My second last man was [team-mate] Davide Vigano and then CJ [CJ Sutton] gave me the final lead-out just like on Sunday. My team are what help me to keep on making the difference.”
Boasson Hagen says he will now try to keep the overall lead through to Friday’s final time trial, a rolling 18 kilometre race against the clock.
But the Norwegian is clearly hitting great form far sooner than anticipated and a Boasson Hagen win cannot be ruled out in the earlier stages, either.
“Tomorrow [Tuesday] there’s a steep climb close to the finish so with any luck we’ll eliminated some of the ‘pure’ sprinters,” Boasson Hagen said.
“It could be an interesting finish.”
Tour of Oman stage two: Boasson Hagen moves into lead
Tour of Oman 2010, stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Dowsett in escape group in Oman stage 2
Tour of Oman, stage one report: Boasson Hagen second
Tour of Oman 2010, stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour of Oman 2010: Preview and guide