Edvald Boasson Hagen has allayed concerns surrounding his drop from WorldTour to ProContinental level, telling Cyclingnews that he has faith that Team MTN-Qhubeka will provide him with a suitably strong race programme.
Boasson Hagen leaves Team Sky at the end of this season, ending an association that began with the team’s inaugural 2010 campaign. He has won several major races at the British team, including stages in the Tour de France, however he has never quite lived up to some of the expectations in the tougher spring classics. This season has been below-par by the Norwegian’s standards due to injury and illness and Cyclingnews understands that Team Sky were hesitant to keep Boasson Hagen on their books at his current value.
In August, interim manager at Team MTN-Qhubeka, Brian Smith, told Cyclingnews that Boasson Hagen was a target for the team but made it clear that several riders had expressed concerns with the potential drop from WorldTour to ProContinental.
“At first I was a bit concerned but I don’t think that it’s going to make any big difference,” Boasson Hagen told Cyclingnews during his recent WorldTour race programme in Canada.
“The programme of races we’ll do will still be strong and the management and staff are all good. It’s a big team so the change isn’t a massive difference.”
Team MTN-Qhubeka has been one of the most active squads in the transfer market, with Boasson Hagen joined by Tyler Farrar, Theo Bos and Matthew Goss. The team are also close to announcing two further signings from WorldTour teams with one rider from BMC and a second from Omega Pharma QuickStep.
Although Boasson Hagen is unsure of his exact race programme for next season – Team MTN-Qhubeka will rely on wildcard entries for the biggest races – he envisages a high calibre set of events on his calendar.
“I’m looking forward to next year but a lot depends on the race programme that we’re going to have. I want to do my best and race the best I can for the team. Everything depends on the race programme so maybe there will be some changes but we’ll have to plan that at the end of the season.”
“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.”