• Edvald Boasson Hagen (front) grinds out a victory on the second stage of the Tour of Oman (AAP)Source: AAP
Edvald Boasson Hagen has remedied a devastating blow of bad luck at the Tour of Qatar with a convincing win at the Tour of Oman that he now leads ahead of some renowned company.
By
Sophie Smith

Source:
Cycling Central
18 Feb 2016 - 7:35 AM  UPDATED 18 Feb 2016 - 11:51 AM

The 28-year-old claimed the second stage on Wednesday with a strong acceleration away from Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) on the uphill finish in Quriyat.

Boasson Hagen displayed similarly good form at the preceding Tour of Qatar, which teammate Mark Cavendish assumed leadership of after a late double puncture on stage four put the Norwegian out of contention.

“It was a really great day today,” Boasson Hagen said. “When I looked at the profile I knew it could suit me but I knew also it was on the limit to be too hard. The team did well to keep me up in front and ride a steady tempo so I didn’t have to go after any attacks. I’m happy for that.”

The national champion was positioned third behind Nibali in the final and sprinted off the Italian’s wheel with about 150m to go, opening a clear gap.

Boasson Hagen's performance again had media making comparisons of old although Dimension Data sports director Roger Hammond maintained the Tour of Britain champion has not changed since halcyon days at Highroad.

“He’s still the same guy I met in Highroad, it’s just he’s been given a team to help him win and he’s winning,” Hammond said of the unassuming professional.

“These guys who win bike races are all supremely confident inside, it’s just how they show it on the outside. For us, it’s not about bravado and shouting and screaming. We know Eddy is confident, we ask him in a more quiet way than most and you can tell by looking in his eyes when he’s ready and when he is not ready.

“It’s just about reading him really.” 

A group of escapees were caught and the race was altogether with about 20km to go and before the 2.8km climb to the finish, which topped out at 10 per cent. BMC caused a split in the flat run to the final climb where Dimension Data also showed its savvy racing crosswinds as the likes of Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) and Richie Porte (BMC) were dropped.

Dimension Data then piloted Boasson Hagen within the last kilometre of the sharp 162km stage.

Tempers flared after the race where Porte, outside the shared team bus, took issue with the winning side. Dimension Data captain Tyler Farrar calmly put it all down to conditions.

“That’s crosswind racing,” the American said. “I think that’s what you get here is you have guys who have come from Qatar, and have been doing it for a week, and some of the GC riders, who don’t really do that, so you get a little bit of that here. But that’s crosswind racing and you have to fight for your position. It’s a war.”

Nibali now sits second overall, four seconds adrift of Boasson Hagen, who has said the queen stage to Green Mountain later this week will likely be too difficult for him. Van Avermaet and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) are a further two seconds in arrears for third and fourth overall, respectively.

The race continues on Thursday with a 176.5km run from Al Sawadi Beach to Naseem Park.