Twenty year-old Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen successfully fended off some of professional cycling's best-known time trialists to clinch stage three of the Critérium International for Team High Road. Riding against specialists like Americans David Zabriskie (Slipstream Chipotle - H30) and Bobby Julich (Team CSC), David Millar (Slipstream Chipotle - H30) of Great Britain and Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne), Boasson Hagen stopped the clock for the 8.3 kilometre course in a time of 10 minutes and 16 seconds. It was his first win in High Road colours after joining the team this winter.
Boasson Hagen's German team-mate Tony Martin proved to be the second fastest on the time trial, giving High Road the top two places on the stage. Germany's Jens Voigt (Team CSC) won overall.
"Edvald did a classy ride, he made no mistakes and calculated his strength perfectly," said an excited High Road directeur sportif Valerio Piva. "At the half-way time check he was one second down on Tony, and then he turned up the throttle to finish seven seconds ahead. That shows real control and power."
"The course was made a lot tougher because of the incessant rain, so even though our guys were off early they didn't have an advantage because of better weather conditions. It was the same for everybody. Even so, Edvald beat guys as well-known as Zabriskie and Millar. For a 20-year-old, it's an amazing achievement, and one which really bodes well for the future."
"On top of that Tony finished just seven seconds down. It's been a great day's riding for the team."
After riding the Hel van het Mergelland in Holland with High Road's other young pros next Saturday, April 5, Boasson Hagen's next top level challenge will be the Ardennes Classics at the end of April. Boasson Hagen's victory is the 15th for High Road's men's team this season.
Ciolek out sick, while the women excel Stateside
Meanwhile, High Road's young German sprinter, Gerald Ciolek, had to abandon the Critérium International on Sunday.
"We are not yet sure of Ciolek's health condition," team spokeswoman Kristy Scrymgeour told Cyclingnews. "He has not been feeling well since Milano-Sanremo, with sore muscles and not able to perform well. They decided that it was best for him to take a rest from racing until they do some blood tests to determine his condition. They should have some results next week."
Meanwhile, High Road's women's team competing in the USA continued with their strong performances. Kim Anderson and Alex Rhodes repeated their wins in Saturday's San Dimas Road Race with another successful breakaway ride in Sunday's final stage. On Saturday, Rhodes won the stage and Anderson took the leader's yellow jersey.
The following day, the pair rode to the same result with Rhodes taking another stage win and Anderson confirming her lead and going home with her first stage race victory since 2004. Teammates Mara Abbott and Anke Wichmann worked to ensure the break stayed away, while Wichmann led out youngster Emilia Fahlin who won the bunch sprint for third place.
Anderson finished with not only the leader's jersey but also the mountain's classification. "It was really fun. The girls rode really well and it paid off. Now we have a few days rest before we start Redlands, so we're excited to see what we can do there."