Third place in the sapping uphill sprint in Colne at the end of stage two of the Tour of Britain gave a clear signal that Edvald Boasson Hagen’s best form is not too far away as the Norwegian prepares for the Worlds towards the end of this month.
"It was a hard stage and a very tough finish to judge," said Boasson Hagen, who was edged out by Movistar’s Juanjo Lobato for second place behind solo winner Petr Vakoc. "It was uphill and I didn’t know much about it, but I’m pretty satisfied with the sprint."
Speaking to Cyclingnews as he warmed down following the stage, the MTN-Qhubeka powerhouse described his form as "not too bad" before adding: "Obviously you always wish that you could be a little better, but the legs feel good."
Winner of seven stages and overall champion in 2009 in two previous appearances in the Tour of Britain, Boasson Hagen is glad to be back on terrain where he has had considerable success, but believes the race has changed. "It has always been good to me in the past. The last two times I’ve done it I’ve done really well. But that’s a few years ago now and I think the peloton is stronger than what it was then," he said.
"The good thing about it now, though, is the way that it sets you up for the Worlds, which are next up for me. That’s why I’ve come here this week."
Not too long ago Boasson Hagen would have been Norway’s designated leader for the Worlds, but the emergence of Alexander Kristoff has relegated him to a likely secondary role.
"I don’t know much about the course in Richmond beyond the fact that it’s a hard course, but that it’s not too hard to count out the sprinters, so [Alexander] Kristoff will be the guy for us," he said.
"I’ll aim to do a good job for him, but there’s always the possibility that I might get a chance myself," he admitted.