Edvald Boasson Hagen’s strong season hit a bump in the road when he was forced to sit out of E3 Harelbeke due to illness but he bounced back on Sunday with a solid 18th place in Gent-Wevelgem, finishing in the second group on the road just 11 seconds behind the race winner Peter Sagan (Tinkoff).
"It’s not super great but still I was up in the front so it was quite good," he told Cyclingnews after the race. "It was a big fight in the crosswinds all day, but I managed to be up in the front, so I’m happy with that. I wasn’t really on the front in the final, but it was quite ok."
“I was sick last week but today I am ok. It was a pretty good effort from the team as well. They got me to the front and that was great, but I didn’t manage to do a really good final but still it was good.”
Boasson Hagen’s Dimension Data team could be seen doing a lot of work, helping to bring back the early break and many of the subsequent attacks. However, the efforts showed, and Boasson Hagen was left to his own devices in the latter stages of the race. The Norwegian tried to attack along with Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNl-Jumbo) and Manuel Quinziato (BMC) on the Baneberg with 40 kilometres to go but it didn’t stick, and he was unable to follow when Sagan made his move on the next climb of the Kemmelberg.
“We tried to come back but it was a big group behind, and they were going really fast in front. It was too hard,” he explained, saying that things could have been different had he not lost two teammates to mechanical problems when the initial split was made. “We lost both Jay [Thomson] and Reinardt [Janse Van Rensburg] with flat tyres at the same time that was really bad luck. If they didn’t have that then maybe we could have had more guys in the front so Tyler didn’t have to do that much but it’s hard to say. I’m happy with what the guys did. With bad luck, you can’t do much, but that’s life.”
While many of his teammates head home for the days between Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, Boasson Hagen will remain in Belgium. He will spend the next couple of days recovering and will take a look at the Tour of Flanders route this coming Thursday. After the recent setback, the team are happy with Boasson Hagen’s ride and are confident that he can be a contender at Flanders.
“It was hard. He missed Harelbeke and you know that you know you’re going to be missing a couple of per cent in Gent-Wevelgem,” directeur sportif Jean-Pierre Heynderickx told Cyclingnews. “Now he is going better and better.
“We will have to see how he goes in the next few days but if he is going better than he was today then he will be there in the final.”