Just a week ago Edvald Boasson Hagen stood on the Tour of Qatar podium wearing the race leader’s jersey having won the day’s time trial stage. Today, he did exactly the same in the Tour of Oman, with a performance which illustrated not only his sheer class but of the spirit being generated within the Dimension Data team.
The stage was a relatively routine one for the peloton; an escape going out fairly early to mop up some of the intermediate sprint and mountains points, the main contenders behind, safe in the knowledge the day’s action would come nearer the finish.
With about 25km to go cross winds hit the peloton and, under pressure from BMC and Katusha the bunch split into smaller groups. “We felt that maybe it was going to split there but I didn’t think anyone would take it up,” Boasson Hagen said.
Road captain for the team takes up the story, “Luckily we were in a good position, we had almost the whole team there, so we were able to kind of surf on the side and jump in when we saw there was a split.”
With a selection made, the final climb became the team’s focus. “Towards the climb we noticed that guys like Jungels were already hurting,” Australian Nathan Haas told us.
“We knew we could spit him by going hard at the bottom of the climb. It was for the [leader’s] jersey and we just committed. The four of us just took long pulls on the climb until we were dead. Then you hear that Eddy finishes it off is just awesome.”
The luck of which Farrar spoke can only get you so far, however. Team director Roger Hammond left the race 50km before the finish and drove the finish five times, relaying information to the team. By the time the riders reached the bottom of the 2.8km climb they had a mind map of every bend and ramp.
It is, however, the spirit of togetherness and sacrifice which emanates from the team which made the win.
“It’s a team of people with superstar ability maybe not realised on other squads,” Haas explained.
“But they’re all riding together with a cause and you feel this energy. I really wanted Eddy to win today, and it’s normally a stage that I would have a crack on, but when you’ve got this mass energy it’s something you don’t think about. It’s what I think will make us one of the biggest teams in the World.”
Watch: Pro bike – Edvald Boasson Hagen’s Cervelo
A day after winning the gold leader’s jersey in Qatar last week Boasson Hagen lost it following a double puncture. “It’s really good it’s good feeling to have it back,” he said. “It’s a different race, but good that I could have some luck again in some races and have a victory.”
Misfortune robbed Boasson Hagen of overall victory last week but he admitted today’s climb was on his limit and Friday’s ascent of Green Mountain is both longer and steeper. While that is a major barrier to overall victory in Oman, with today’s win the 28-year-old Norwegian has once again proved his class.