Edvald Boasson Hagen will leave team Sky after five years and join South Africa's second division MTN-Qhubeka team next year. The team announced today that it inked a contract with the Norwegian for 2015 and 2016.
"We believe he is one of the best riders in the world and we look forward to seeing him achieve great results for himself as well as mentor our young African talents," team principal, Douglas Ryder said.
"We want to become one of the best teams in the world to assist the African riders to get into the biggest races in cycling and this is a huge step in that direction."
Boasson Hagen remains a huge talent even if the results have not come in as he would have wanted over the last couple of years at Sky. His last wins were in 2013, with the national championship time trial, stages and the overall of the Glava Tour of Norway, and a stage in the Critérium du Dauphiné.
In his palmarès, however, he counts two stages of the Tour de France, 2011 and 2009 Eneco Tour, the 2011 Vattenfall Cyclassics, the 2012 GP Ouest France-Plouay and the 2009 Gent-Wevelgem when he was only 21 years old. If he fails to give MTN immediate results then, as Ryder said, he will at least be able to support its young and inexperienced Africans.
"The African riders I have seen race this year and I hope to help them with my experience as they are great talents. The other thing I really enjoy is this team does not just race for themselves but for a charity," said Boasson Hagen.
"It's been five great seasons with Team Sky, but the time has come to seek new challenges. After some consideration, this is the team I most of all want to ride for in the future. They are upgrading the team for next season, but already this year they have received wild cards for most of the races I would like to do next year. The team takes part in the Vuelta right now, which is their first Grand Tour. For next year they are targeting the Tour. So I feel safe about the race programme."
Prior to joining Sky in its debut year 2010, the 27-year-old raced for HTC-Highroad and Norwegian continental team, Maxbo Bianchi.
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