In his first race back after breaking his collarbone at the Gent-Wevelgem in late March, Edvald Boasson Hagen sprinted to 3rd place on today’s opening stage of the Tour of Norway. Only Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Caleb Ewan (Orica-Greenedge) would cross the line ahead of Eddy.
While the stage always looked to be one for a bunch kick on paper, this was not such a certainty with 10km to go. An original break of 5 riders went clear early on and the gap was always under the control of Katusha, Orica-Greenedge and Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung. It was with 50km to go that things got interesting as Sean De Bie and Pim Ligthart from Lotto-Soudal bridged the 2 minute gap to the leaders.
Now 7 strong, the break pushed the lead back up to 3’00” with just 25km to go. It took a chase at full effort by Katusha and the MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung riders to bring the escapees back. Jaco Venter, also in his first race back after breaking his humerus, would put in some monster turns while the rest of the boys positioned Eddy for the hopeful sprint.
400m to go and the break were caught! Eddy launched his sprint on the tough uphill gradient and was only just passed by Kristoff and Ewan inside of 100m to go. It was a great return to racing for Edvald after an all-round superb team performance to set up the finale.
Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider
I am pretty happy with how the stage went today. The team were really good and positioned me well throughout the stage. For my first race back I must say I was feeling pretty good actually. We have got a nice result on which to build on for the rest of the week.
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
Once the 2 Lotto riders crossed to the 5 leaders it made for an exciting race. We had to work in the front of the bunch for the last 35km together with a few other teams to chase down the break. Then we needed to deliver Edvald into a good position for the final. With less than 1km to go it was all together and Edvald could put in his sprint. Looking at the GC, we had a good day as Edvald and Serge didn’t lose any time but there were a few small time gaps to the other contenders. I am satisfied with the guys and their work.