Edvald Boasson Hagen was slightly disappointed to finish second at the Tour of Oman for a second consecutive year, but his consistency and multitude of cycling talents stood out during the six-day race, despite it being his first race of the 2011 season.
The 23-year-old Norwegian finished more than a minute down on Robert Gesink (Rabobank) but finished in the top five on five stages. Three of those placing were in sprint finishes, and he was also second on the very tough uphill finish won by Gesink and then fifth in the hilly time trial despite being buzzed by a helicopter. Not surprisingly Boasson Hagen dominated the points competition and took the green jersey.
"I'm satisfied with my race and with second overall. And the team is working well together too," he told Cyclingnews.
It's hard to say if I'm going better this year than last year because it was my first race of the season. I was on really good form last year but was also pretty consistent this year. That's not bad."
Cobbled Classics contender
Boasson Hagen rarely reveals his inner thoughts to the media but will head to Belgium for this weekend's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne with the confidence he can be a contender.
He may lack the experience of the racing multiple seasons on the cobbles but has the strength and finishing speed to get a result. He will also form an excellent combination of raw youth and intelligent experience with Juan Antonio Flecha, who won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last year.
The Achilles tendon problem that forced Boasson Hagen to miss most of the cobbled Classics last year is a distant memory and this spring he could fully confirm the Classics talent he first revealed in 2009 when he won Ghent-Wevelgem.
"I'll be riding all the cobbled Classics, starting with Omloop and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne this weekend and I'll also ride Amstel Gold Race before taking a break," Boasson Hagen confirmed to Cyclingnews.
"My plans include Milan-San Remo too but my big goal will be the cobbled classics. I hope to do my very best there."
His biggest goal of all, is the queen of the classics: Paris-Roubaix.
"I'd love to win Paris-Roubaix one day but I know I need more experience first," he said.
"I'm riding Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders this year with the idea to gain experience and try and get a result. I don't expect to win but we'll see what happens. If I can’t win I'll work for the team.