Edvald Boasson Hagen has signed a two-year contract with South African continental team MTN-Qhubeka, according to Norwegian television channel TV2. It is rumoured that the new contract is worth one million Euros, which is less than he is currently on at Sky.
Boasson Hagen confirmed earlier this month that he would be leaving Team Sky, where he has been since their inaugural season, however his destination has been unknown until now. The Norwegian had been linked with a number of teams including Giant-Shimano and Tinkoff-Saxo, although a tweet from the Oleg Tinkov indicated that it probably wasn’t going to be the latter.
Boasson Hagen turned professional with High Road in 2008 as a solid all-round rider. Victories at the Eneco Tour and Tour of Britain showed him to be a rider with huge promise, and he moved to Team Sky in 2010. The Norwegian went on to win two stages of the Tour de France in 2011, and take a silver medal at the 2012 world championships. However, with Team Sky’s growing attention towards the Grand Tours, and more specifically the Tour de France, Boasson Hagen's career has begun to stagnate.
While moving to MTN-Qhubeka may be a surprise, it could also prove to be the jolt that Boasson Hagen needs to re-start his career. It worked for Gerald Ciolek in 2013, who went on to win Milan-San Remo. The move to the team links him up with other former WorldTour riders such as, Linus Gerdemann, Sergio Pardilla and Ignatas Konovalovas.
Since turning Pro Continental in 2013, MTN-Qhubeka has been growing quickly. The team is currently making its Grand Tour debut at Vuelta a España, the first African registered team to do so. At the end of July, former Endura Racing team manager Brian Smith was announced as the interim general manager for the team, charged with selecting the riders for the Vuelta a España and signing marquee riders for 2015. Boasson Hagen is the first of such marquee riders, with Giant-Shimano rider Reinardt Janse van Rensburg linked with a move back to the team also.