Team Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen opened his 2012 account with victory on stage two of the Volta ao Algarve, with the two-time Tour de France stage winner also moving into the overall lead.
Bosason Hagen outsprinted Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Gerald Ciolek (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) to stand atop the podium at the end of the 187.5km stage from Faro to Lagoa.
The Norwegian race leader said he had achieved a pre-race goal in winning a stage, and praised his teammates for their role in his victory.
“I’m really happy and it’s always nice to get your first victory of the season. The team did a good job to keep me up front with 1k to go so I didn’t have to spend too much energy before that. Then it was just about staying on the wheel of the QuickStep train. It was quite easy to stay up there and wait until the last 200 metres and then I went.
“It was a goal for me to try and get a victory here. Yesterday I was a bit surprised how quickly we came to the line. I was a bit frustrated so it was really nice to get the win and the race lead,” he said.
Team Sky directeur sportif, Sean Yates, described the Norweigan’s victory as “a great result” and his race lead as “good news”.
“We’ve got a stage in the bag and tomorrow we can concentrate on the GC. Obviously we want to defend the jersey but now we’ve got another mission in getting the GC guys up there on the climb.
“Richie [Porte] is feeling good so we want to get him in the right place. Everyone got through the day fine today and it’s great for morale to have got this win. We’ve come here with a really strong team and the guys are all riding well. We were able to take a bit of a back seat today as Lotto defended the jersey which played into our hands,” said Yates.
Boasson Hagen leads the race by virtue of better stage placings than second placed man, Gianni Meersman (Lotto Belisol), who is equal on time with the Norweigan. Boeckmans is third, four seconds back.
Team Sky’s leader, Bradley Wiggins, and his teammate, Britain’s Chris Froome, could both play a key role in tomorrow’s 194.5km stage from Castro Marim to Malhão.
Boasson Hagen, widely regarded as one of the peloton’s brightest talents, played down his chances of overall victory.
“I’m not a super climber and I’m not sure if I can manage to stay in yellow but it’s more important to keep the GC guys up there. We’ll see what happens. I will try to stay in there as long as possible and hopefully I can help the guys,” he said.
Volta ao Algarve stage three
1) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Sky Pro Cycling – 4:57:23
2) Kris Boeckmans (BEL) – Vacansoleil-DCM
3) Gerald Ciolek (GER) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep
4) Matti Breschel (DEN) – Rabobank
5) Anthony Ravard (FRA) – Ag2R-La Mondiale
6) Lloyd Mondory (FRA) – Ag2R-La Mondiale
7) Francesco Lasca (ITA) – Caja Rural
8) Koldo Fernandez (SPA) – Garmin-Barracuda
9) Nikolas Maes (BEL) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep
10) Pieter Vanspeybrouck (BEL) – Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
1) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Sky Pro Cycling – 8:59:30
2) Gianni Meersman (BEL) – Lotto Belisol – ST
3) Kris Boeckmans (BEL) – Vacansoleil-DCM – +4”
4) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing Team
5) Matti Breschel (DEN) – Rabobank – + 6”
6) Anthony Ravard (FRA) – Ag2R-La Mondiale – +10”
7) Björn Leukemans (BEL) – Vacansoleil-DCM
8) Fabian Wegmann (Ger) – Garmin-Barracuda
9) Rui Costa (POR) – Movistar Team
10) Jan Bakelants (Bel) – RadioShack-Nissan-Trek
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