Thor Hushovd has revealed he advised Edvald Boasson Hagen not to join Tinkoff-Saxo for the 2015 season, convincing him that the MTN-Qhubeka team would be the best option to restart his career after a lean final year at Team Sky.
“I said: Edvald, you shouldn't sign for Tinkoff. I think it is the wrong choice. If you do, then I'll give you a slap,” Hushovd revealed to TV2 Norway.
The reason for his opposition to the idea? “With the image of Bjarne Riis and the team, in addition Peter Sagan had signed for them, Edvald wouldn't evolve into the rider he was in his best years at Sky,” Hushovd argued.
He added, “I do not think the image of Tinkoff could be reconciled with how Edvald is as a person.”
“I probably should not have mixed in, but I only want the best for Edvald,” Hushovd continued. “He is a straight through a good guy, and I know from my own career that such choices are difficult. I told him about my history from the time of Cervelo, which like MTN Qhubeka was a small and unknown team. To go there was the best choice I've made in my career.”
Boasson Hagen never said why he turned down what seemed to be a sure contract with Tinkoff-Saxo, angering team owner Oleg Tinkov. He seemed unconcerned about dropping to Professional Continental, saying, ““It’s going to be a good team with a good bunch of riders so it’s something to look forward to. I’ve been with Team Sky for five years now and I’ve enjoyed it but it’s time to try something different.”
He may have taken Hushovd’s advice to heart. “It is important to hear any input that one gets,” he said.