Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen struck today in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy, winning the final stage at Tirreno-Adriatico. His sprint win ahead of Alessandro Petacchi and versatility marks him as a favourite for Milan-San Remo in four days time.
"Today was a good sprint, but San Remo is a lot longer, so it will be tough," said Norwegian Boasson Hagen. "My form is good, but it is not really perfect. I hope, with some rest I will be good."
Sky took control in the last kilometres for 'Eddy' with Juan Antonio Flecha, Ian Stannard, Mathew Hayman and, finally, Chris Sutton. Boasson Hagen then finished off his team-mate's work with a hard charge down the left side, drifting slight to his right as Petacchi advanced.
What makes Boasson Hagen dangerous for San Remo is his versatility. Bunch sprints are his speciality, but he could just as well win from an escape group off the Poggio.
"I like to sprint too," he continued. "It is not my favourite way to win, sprinting out of a big bunch. It worked today, though."
Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) ruled San Benedetto del Tronto one year ago and went on to win San Remo four days later. Today, he bumped shoulders with Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Doimo) and crashed in the final ten kilometres.
"He's okay," explained team-mate Marco Pinotti, "he just took a bang, though."
Sky's win and Cavendish's crash came at the end of the closest classification battle Tirreno has ever seen in its 45-year history. Michele Scarponi (Androni) led the race ahead of Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone) by a scant two seconds, but Garzelli had planned for a coup in today's sprint stage.
Garzelli took advantage of the bonus seconds during the stage's two intermediate sprints. The 2000 Giro d'Italia winner received a lead-out from his team, nabbed third spot on each sprint to gain a total of two seconds. The two Italians were equal in time, giving the overall win to Garzelli by virtue of his stage placings over the last six days.
"The win came in a very particular way," said Garzelli. "I have never won a race like this, I think I will enjoy it even more."
Tirreno-Adriatico 2010, stage seven: Civitanova Marche-San Benedetto del Tronto
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky 164km in 3-52-36
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre
3. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Colnago-CSF Inox
4. Bernhard Eisel (Aut) HTC-Columbia
5. Mattia Gavazzi (Ita) Colnago-CSF Inox all same time
Final overall classification
1. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone in 30-51-36
2. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at same time
3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team at 12secs
4. Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Astana at 22secs
5. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank at 27secs
Boasson Hagen wins the final Tirreno-Adriatico stage
Winner Stefano Garzelli gives Michele Scarponi a donkey rub
Stage six: Scarponi saves Tirreno GC lead behind Ignatiev stage win
Stage five: Evans foiled in Tirreno stage but mounts classification fight
Stage four: Scarponi's mountain stage win timed to perfection
Stage three: Bennati crowns a great day for Liquigas
Stage two: Boonen wins sprint and becomes San Remo favourite
Stage one: Gerdemann is back, and with good timing
Farrar watching Cavendish ahead of Milan-San Remo
Cavendish getting better but still not that confident
Tirreno-Adriatico 2010: The Big Preview
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