Boasson Hagen should forget bunch sprints, says Hushovd

Edvald Boasson Hagen should forget the mass sprints and not dream of winning the Tour de France, Thor Hushovd has said. But the younger Norwegian should focus on the Classics and stage wins.

“I think it will be difficult for Edvald to win the Tour de France overall,“ Hushovd told the Norwegian TV 2 Sport. “But he can win all the Classics.”

Boasson Hagen's chances for the sprints will be reduced by the presence of Mark Cavendish on Team Sky in the coming season. “He cannot focus on flat sprints, because Cavendish will be the only one, there is no doubt. But Edvald can go for the harder ones as he did in the summer when he won the sixth stage of the Tour de France.”

Hushovd also believes that Boasson Hagen can win more time trials. “You see now that riders like Cancellara are not as superior as before.  If Edvald had ridden the time trial (at the Worlds), I think he would have finished very high up.”

The 24-year-old's mental strength also came in for praise. “When he decides to go into a break, he is so outrageously determined and stubborn that he doesn't give up until he is caught.  And when he is in the break, he is hard to catch. It's the way he should continue in the Tour de France. Then he can win the stages as he did this year.”

While Boasson Hagen won the sixth stage of the Tour in a sprint, he took the 17th stage out of a break. He was part of a group which got away 60km into the stage, and he then escaped from that group near the end to win in a solo effort.

Hushovd himself has transformed from a prologue and short time trial specialist to a mass sprinter to a Classics specialist, and he envisages that Boasson Hagen will develop in a similar way.

“He cannot do everything  I think he will adjust automatically. He will find his direction and I think that will happen by itself,” Hushovd said, adding, “Edvald is not the type to ask for advice.”

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