Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen has overcome a potentially serious Achilles problem to virtually secure his place in Team Sky’s Tour de France squad, the team said Sunday.
Boasson Hagen, 22, is considered one of the brightest young talents in cycling. However, the Norwegian’s chances of making his debut at the Tour in July 3-25 were left compromised by an Achilles injury.
After a week of racing in the French Alps at the Dauphiné Libéré, Team Sky sports director Sean Yates said he has seen enough to believe the Norwegian is now fully recovered.
“Edvald has come up, he’s not had any recurrence of his injury. He did a great time trial and has been comfortable in the mountains, so he’s on track for the Tour,” Yates told AFP on Sunday.
Yates said he was given a massive boost by seeing Boasson Hagen in the stage 3 time trial where, despite missing top form, he finished the tricky 49km race against the clock in third, 43 seconds behind Slovenian Janez Brajkovic.
“You can see he’s quality, you can’t miss him. It sticks out a mile,” added Yates.
“He’s not complained one bit about his Achilles, that’s a major factor. He’s healed. He came third in the time trial and that was his first serious workout for two months.
“Brajkovic had a superior ride (in the time trial) but for me Edvald had the ride of the day, considering he was just having a little test. I was following him in the car and he was passing guys that were (riding) like second-rate amateurs. To see the power of the guy is quite phenomenal.”
Team Sky will head into this year’s Tour with Briton Bradley Wiggins, the reigning Olympic pursuit champion, as team leader.
Wiggins has ambitions to go at least one place better than his fourth last year when only a late push by Lance Armstrong kept him off the podium.
Before Wiggins’s result last year, Robert Millar’s fourth place in the 1984 Tour de France, where the Scot won the best climber’s polka-dot jersey, was the best ever finish for a Briton on a major three-week tour.