Glava title perfectly timed ahead of Tour de France
It may have taken a little longer than usual but Edvald Boasson Hagen can take solace in the fact that his first victory of 2013 at the Glava Tour of Norway has arrived just six weeks away from the Tour de France, where many expect the current Norwegian champion to join his Sky Procycling teammates come the final day of June.
Boasson Hagen, 'The Boss' took his time to move into the overall lead in his local tour but did it in style when he rode into his home town of Lillehammer on the penultimate and queen stage of the five-day race to take the stage win and pull on the race leader's jersey.
The final day of racing was another perfect display of control by the GB outfit who duly took to the front and kept the day's escape on a tight leash heading into the more difficult finale. Saxo-Tinkoff tried to shake things up in an attempt to move second-overall Sergio Paulinho onto the top step on of the podium but Sky kept a cool head before ensuring the peloton arrived at the finish for the expected bunch kick.
Boasson Hagen was unable to capture the final stage while wearing yellow and had to be content with another second-place to Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) who took his third stage win of the race.
"It's really nice to take the win," said Boasson Hagen on the team site. "The team did an amazing job to control things the whole day and keep everything under control. It's really nice to have such a strong team and to finish off in the yellow jersey was the goal."
Boasson Hagen had thought Kristoff would be unable to contest the final sprint given the difficulty of the day's parcours and finishing ascents but his countryman proved too fast, skipping over the top in the final metres to get the win.
"Alex (Kristoff) is really strong and he did a good sprint. I'm happy to have the yellow jersey. I was a little bit blocked at the end but he was too strong," he added.
With the Tour de France not far away and his position on the nine-man squad seemingly certain it's expected that Boasson Hagen will take his next race appointment in France at the Critérium du Dauphiné as his final preparation ahead of the Grand Départ in Porto-Vecchio on 29 June.
"I feel good. I came to win again this year and I managed that. It's great to be here in Honefoss and to have won the Glava Tour again."
As was the case in 2012 Boasson Hagen's personal ambitions for the three-week race will almost certainly be limited. With Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome forming a double-pronged attack at the general classification, Sky will need every single on of the remaining seven riders on task if they are to repeat the kind of success that landed the top two spots on the final Paris podium along with a bag full of stage wins in last year's edition.
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Tour de France 2013