Edvald Boasson Hagen showed his class by winning stage 3 of the Critérium du Dauphiné on Tuesday but he is under no illusions about his place in the Sky hierarchy at the Tour de France. The Norwegian champion will spend July working in the service of team leader Chris Froome and admitted that opportunities to add to the two stages he won in 2011 will be limited.
“You know, the number one objective is winning the yellow jersey and I am going to do everything possible to do that,” Boasson Hagen said after his stage win, according to L’Équipe. “Beyond that, if I have a chance to contest some sprints, I’ll try my luck. Of course, it would be a dream to win more Tour stages.”
In 2012, Boasson Hagen played a key role in Bradley Wiggins’ Tour victory but the defending champion will not be on hand this time around. Wiggins announced on Friday that he will not be on the start line in Corsica as a knee injury has hampered his preparation since he abandoned the Giro d’Italia last month.
It had already been decreed that Froome would be Sky’s leader for the Tour, however, and Boasson Hagen does not envisage that Wiggins’ absence will change his own duties in July.
“I don’t think it will have any consequence,” Boasson Hagen said. “We’re going to ride for Chris to get the yellow jersey. It’s sad that we won’t have Bradley but it’s still a strong team. The yellow jersey is the objective this week at the Dauphiné too – not for me, but for Chris. I hope that he can take it and I’m going to help him.”
On the road to Tarare on Tuesday, however, the Sky team was dedicated to teeing up the sprint finish for Boasson Hagen. Ian Stannard was very prominent at the head of the peloton on the final climb of the Col des Sauvages, while Geraint Thomas led out the sprint.
“The team was really very good, the rode on the front of the peloton on the final climb, and then Geraint and Pete [Kennaugh] worked very well afterwards and brought back the two riders who had attacked in the finale,” said Boasson Hagen, who has now won three stages at the Dauphiné. “I wouldn’t saw that I love the region especially but it’s true that the terrain suits me here. It’s quite undulating and that suits me before a sprint.”