Thor Hushovd, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Lars Petter Nordhaug will represent Norway at the world championships in Florence the end of this month. This selection covers all the possibilities, the national coach said, with Boasson Hagen as the best climber, Nordhaug for a break group, and Hushovd for a possible sprint finish.
Ironically, the nation's best rider, Alexander Kristoff, will be attending only as a reserve. He provided 161 points for the country, which helped give Norway three starting places. In contrast, Hushovd has 45 points and Boasson Hagen only 29.
“That was not an easy choice,” said coach Stig Kristiansen. “Alexander has performed well all season, and taken every chance he could. It is not so long ago that he was third in Hamburg. But I think he has the best part of his season behind him and the course profile is not to his advantage this time.”
Boasson Hagen is the one “we are most excited about. If he comes back into shape after the injury in the Tour de France.” He broke his right shoulder blade in a crash during the 12th stage of the Tour, and has only returned to racing at the Vuelta a Espana. He has brought in four top ten stage finishes so far, including second in Thursday's 12th stage, when world champion Philippe Gilbert pipped him at the finish line.
Hushovd was an “obvious” selection, Kristiansen said. After a virus and muscle infection limited him to only 28 racing days in 2012, the former world champion has had a return to success this year. He won stages at the Tour de Haut Var, Tour of Austria, and the Tour of Poland. At the first edition of the Arctic Race of Norway last month, he won two of the four stages to take the overall title.