Valgren and Boasson Hagen lead Dimension Data charge for E3

African WorldTour team boasts double-pronged attack for 'mini Tour of Flanders' on Friday

Michael Valgren and Edvald Boasson Hagen will lead Dimension Data's efforts to capture what would be the African WorldTour team's fourth victory of the season at the E3 BinckBank Classic on Friday.

Valgren only joined the team this year from Astana, with whom he won last season's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Amstel Gold, and the Dane is hungry for more success with his new squad at this year's Classics.

Although the 27-year-old has so far failed to fire this year, finishing well out of contention at the Omloop earlier this month, Valgren chose to skip last weekend's Milan-San Remo in order to concentrate on training for the cobbled Classics.

"I'm really looking forward to getting back to racing after Tirreno-Adriatico," Valgren said on his team's website.

"I think that it was a good idea that I pulled out of San Remo to get some good training done, and I've been training well and feeling good, so that's nice for me.

"I'm really looking forward to returning to the E3, as it's one of the first cobbled races that I did two years ago and where I did well," he said, remembering his sixth place in 2017, before he went on a week later to take 11th place at the Tour of Flanders that year.

"I have good memories of that, and hopefully I can keep having good memories of it, and see what we can do as a team on Friday. It’s a nice 'mini Flanders', and it's always good preparation for the big one."

Boasson Hagen has already won a stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana this season – the opening individual time trial, where he beat Astana's Ion Izagirre and Jumbo-Visma's Tony Martin – and will ride the E3 ahead of taking on Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday – a race the Norwegian won 10 years ago, in 2009.

The team's other two victories this year came in February at the Tour of Oman, where Giacomo Nizzolo won a stage, and in the individual time trial at the recent African Continental Championships, which was won by Stefan de Bod.

"After some time off for some training in Spain, where I did some good long rides as well as some good interval sessions, I'm feeling much better and really look forward to racing the E3 and the rest of the Classics," Boasson Hagen said.

"I'm hoping for the best result [on Friday], but this will be part of building back up for the rest of the Classics to come. I'm looking forward to getting to Belgium now to meet up with the rest of the guys and to get back to racing," he said.

Dimension Data for the 2019 E3 BinckBank Classic: Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel, Jay Thomson, Rasmus Tiller, Michael Valgren, Jaco Venter, Julien Vermote

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