Dimension Data have spent the past two off-seasons adding to their squad with the respected riders of Julien Vermote, Michael Valgren and Lars Bak in an attempt to bulk up their Classics squad and support Edvald Boasson Hagen.
Boasson Hagen kicked off the 2019 season with a victory on his first race day in Volta Comunitat Valenciana and, alongside the new signings, gave Dimension Data plenty of promise for the spring.
Sickness struck down the Classics squad at Volta ao Algarve, however, and the team has only managed a single top-ten during the entire Classics campaign through Giacomo Nizzolo – another new signing for the team – at De Panne.
After Boasson Hagen's setbacks, a respectable 32nd place at the Tour of Flanders last Sunday is nothing to be sniffed at. The Norwegian showed his improved form further on Wednesday with a strong 10-kilometre attack in the finale at Scheldeprijs.
"I just wanted to get out of the peloton, try to do an attack and try to stay away," Boasson Hagen said to Cyclingnews on the finishing straight in Schoten. "It was hard with all the sprinters here but I wanted to do that instead of trying to sprint."
A crash with around 13 kilometres remaining, which took out Dimension Data teammate Rasmus Tiller, disrupted the rhythm of the sprinters' teams and Boasson Hagen, along with Lionel Taminiaux (Wallonie Bruxelles) used the incident as an ignition for an attack.
The duo worked well together until Boasson Hagen distanced Taminiaux and rode solo with a gap of up to 20 seconds. Deceuninck-QuickStep's Iljo Keisse played the hound to Boasson Hagen though, and caught the Norwegian time trial champion with 2.7 kilometres remaining.
Boasson Hagen's effort shows a flicker of hope for Dimension Data heading into Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, where he finished fifth in the lead group of Mat Hayman, Tom Boonen, Ian Stannard and Sep Vanmarcke back in 2016.
"It's not been that great the last weeks but hopefully it's getting there now before Roubaix. It's a bit late but still, it's OK.
"I hope to be up by the front guys and I will try to be there but so far, I've not been in that good shape. I was in good shape at the start of the year and then I was sick so I've been struggling since then actually. Hopefully, I can do something and I feel it's going in the right direction at least."
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