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Boasson Hagen loses Qatar lead but learns a lesson

By:
Stephen Farrand
Published:
February 08, 2010, 17:06 GMT,
Updated:
February 08, 2010, 17:11 GMT
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, February 8, 2010
Race:
Tour of Qatar, Stage 2
Edvald Boasson Hagen

Edvald Boasson Hagen

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Arvesen crash a blow to Team Sky's spring campaign

Team Sky dominated the opening team time trial in the Qatar on Sunday but their chances of overall success ended painfully on Monday when Edvald Boasson Hagen lost the leader's gold jersey and slipped to 42nd overall, 9:33 behind new leader Wouter Mol (Vacansoleil)

The team also lost their experienced road captain Kurt-Asle Arvesen in a crash in the neutralised section, making a day to forget for the new British ProTour team.

Arvesen hit a reflector in the road, lost control of his bike and landed heavily on his right shoulder. He fractured his right collarbone near the end of the bone and was taken to hospital in Doha by ambulance.

He fractured his left collarbone in a crash during last year's Tour de France and will now miss several weeks of precious early-season racing.

Arvesen quickly posted an upbeat twitter message before leaving Qatar: "Shit continues to happen. Thanks for all the messages!" he said.

Cyclingnews understands that Arvesen will fly back to Norway overnight and undergo surgery in Oslo in an attempt to speed up his recovery and time off the bike.

Boasson Hagen misses the attack

Arvesen's injury was a blow to all the riders at Team Sky. Things then got worse as they were caught out by the attack from Quick Step and Cervelo Test Team as the echelons formed in the strong crosswind blowing from the north across the barren and exposed Qatar peninsula.

While most of the big name and race favourites here in Qatar were in the 28-rider front group, Boasson Hagen had missed it and his teammates were forced to lead the chase. They held the gap for 40km before cracking and then Boasson punctured, losing his place in the second echelon and any chance of overall success.

With all his teammates having worked hard in the chase, Team Sky had no one in the front group and slipped from the top of the overall standings to more than three minutes behind. It was a painful early-season landing after the success in the team time trial, but Boasson Hagen promised he would learn from his mistake.

He considers fellow Norwegian Arvesen as a kind of mentor and was disappointed to lose a key teammate than the leader's gold jersey.

"The worst thing is that Kurt crashed and broke his collarbone. We tried to make the best of the situation but it didn't work," he said.

"It was really hard with all the wind but I was in the wrong place when it split. My teammates tried to take me to the front but my leg weren't great. It's a pity. I tried to stay in the second group but then I got a flat tyre and there was nothing much I could do after that."

Boasson Hagen said he would now target stage victories in the Tour of Qatar, hopefully turning the tables on the sprinter's teams by going on the attack himself.

"You really learn how to race in the crosswinds here in Qatar. It's good experience for me and fortunately there are still a lot of days left, so we can try to go for stage races. It will be a little easier without a jersey to protect."

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