Edvald Boasson Hagen came the closest yet to taking a bunch sprint for Team Sky after he finished second in the opening stage’s bunch sprint finish of the Tour of Oman, a 60 kilometre evening crit held in front of massive crowds on the seafront at Muscat, Oman. The win went to Frenchman Jimmy Casper (Saur-Sojasun).
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Already third and sixth in bunch sprints in the Tour of Qatar, Boasson Hagen was perfectly set up for the sprint by team-mate Chris Sutton after Sky had repeated their Qatar tactic of sweeping en masse to the front with just a few kilometres to go.
However, the 22-year-old Norwegian, a former winner of the Tour of Britain, ran out of gas within a few metres for the line, losing the race by a less than a bike’s length.
Boasson Hagen was disappointed afterwards not to be able to finish off Sky’s excellent teamwork but as team sources said, it was a great result considering he is a long way off his top form and it is his third top placing in almost as many days.
The team cars will also be well-positioned in tomorrow’s first real road stage thanks to his second place, and Boasson Hagen should be easy to spot, too – he’s leading the Best Young Rider’s competition, and will wear the white jersey that goes with that first place.
“I yelled at Chris to go all out then went for it with about 100 metres to go,” Boasson Hagen said, “but I just couldn’t quite make it to the finish at the head of the pack.”
“Matt [Hayman] went to the front then the rest of the team, and then with just three metres to go he [Casper] came past me, so I lost it by maybe less than a bike length. It was close.”
“The whole team were there, we’re working better and better and it almost worked. I’m just disappointed I couldn’t quite pay them back for racing so well..”
The race itself drew massive crowds, far bigger than at the Tour of Qatar, and the seafront setting, giant television screens, low street lighting and a short, fast circuit all made for a highly atmospheric evening’s racing and successful start to professional cycling’s newest event.
Tour of Oman 2010: Stage one
1. Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur-Sojasun 61km in 1-22-22
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky
3. Kenny De Haes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions
5. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
6. Michael Van Stayen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
7. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Katusha
8. Bernhard Eisel (Aut) HTC-Columbia
9. Andreas Stauff (Ger) Quick Step
10. Lucas Sebastien Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank all same time.
27. Alex Dowsett (GB) Trek-Livestrong
42. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Cervelo
43. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky
78. Roger Hammond (GB) Cervelo
124. Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky all same time.
Jimmy Casper takes the bunch sprint ahead of Edvald Boasson Hagen
Team Sky set the pace
Jimmy Casper: Stage one victor and race leader