Riding his first Giro d'Italia since 2009 when he won stage seven for his previous team, HTC, Boasson Hagen made a powerful drive through the front ranks of the peloton with Swift in his wake even though the Norwegian had crashed during the stage. But despite his left shoulder taking a heavy blow, 'Eddie' was still able to fulfill his team role in the final bunch sprint.
“I was always supposed to do the leadout but I wasn’t expecting to crash,” the 26-year-old said with a slightly wry grin as he warmed down on the rollers outside the Sky team bus.
“The bunch wasn’t going so fast, so I could get back on, and then the pain in my shoulder eased a bit and I managed to do the leadout.”
After Cannondale had upped the pace in the last kilometre, Boasson Hagen made no errors when he tackled a chicane that arguably represented the biggest challenge for the strung-out pack.
“I was first man through the S-bend [in the final kilometre]” - with Swift in third place, close behind - “and gave it full gas to the finish. Swifty got second, it was a pity he didn’t make it but he was close.”
“The team gave it everything they had, it was very difficult with all the headwind, and we were almost there. My job was to get through the S-bend in first place. Swift was really close. We just have to keep trying. There are still many stages to go for Sky.”
As for the crash, Boasson recounted he was “at a roundabout and someone crashed in front of me. I was ok” - initially staying upright - “I could brake all right, but then somebody hit me from behind and I went flying.”
“It’s one of those times when you are ok but somebody goes into you. The shoulder was painful at first, then it got ok again, but it’ll probably stiffen up a little bit now.”
After Monday’s rest-day - “Rest day? It’s a flight day.” was Boasson Hagen’s rather caustic view of the three hour plane transfer to Bari that awaits the peloton tomorrow - more opportunities may come for either himself or Swift. “We’ll see who’s feeling the strongest and everybody will get a chance.”
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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