Boasson Hagen sees Hushovd's absence as advantage in Milan-San Remo

But will Team Sky Norwegian have to ride for Cavendish?

With Thor Hushovd knocked out by a fever, Norway's hopes to win Milan-San Remo rest on the young shoulders of Edvald Boasson Hagen. Hushovd's absence increases Boasson Hagen's chances, but the question remains whether the Team Sky rider will be able to go for the win himself or will have to ride for world champion Mark Cavendish.

The two Norwegians have not ridden the same race yet this season. “It's too bad that he is ill. It would be fun to ride against him again,” Boasson Hagen told “I hope he'll be back to the Classics and especially Paris-Roubaix.”

Boasson Hagen did see one advantage of his countryman's absence, though. “He is a strong rider, so this may increase our chances” of winning.

Boasson Hagen is “fighting fit”, Team Sky coach Kurt-Asle Arvesen said. But who will the team ride for on Saturday?

“Edvald is protected. But if 'Cav' hangs on over the Poggio climb at the end, Edvald will sacrifice his chances and ride for him,” Arvesen said.

It may not come to that, though, he added. If the race “is too tough for Cavendish as they approach the finish, it is quite possible that Edvald will get the chance himself. He is strong enough to stay up front all the way in and could very well win this race, I think.”

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