Edvald Boasson Hagen will lead a reduced Team Sky line-up at the Tour of Beijing that starts next Tuesday. Injury to sprinter Ben Swift at the end of the season has reduced the British team to only a five-man squad for the year's final UCI WorldTour race.
Boasson Hagen most recently won the GP Ouest France-Plouay, and finished second in the World championship road race. He will be supported by Australia's Chris Sutton, who will look for stage wins for himself, but also work for the Norwegian to take the overall title.
Also there will be Alex Dowsett, who finished eighth in the worlds time trial, and will look to improve on his third place on stage one at the 2011 Tour of Beijing. Two young riders round out the team, neo-pros Salvatore Puccio and Luke Rowe.
Swift is absent after he suffered a fractured vertebra in his lower back at the recent Circuit Franco-Belge. He has resumed training, and the team had hoped he could participate, but it was not to be. “Well my season has come to an end was hoping to make Beijing but this fracture is not allowing me to b race fit.Looking forward to next year,'” Swift tweeted.
"We are short in numbers but hopefully we will show ourselves as a strong team but with five guys we will do the best that we can do," team director Marcus Lungquist said. "Edvald's form is pretty good for the sprints as well as being a contender for the GC."
"We have a fast team with Luke and Alex for the lead outs so we have a strong team. We always go to races looking for a result so coming back from Beijing with a stage win and a place on GC would be a good result from us."