The toughest stage of the Tour of Poland saw Columbia-HTC’s Edvald Boasson Hagen sprint to the team’s second victory in three days.
After taking a bunch sprint win on Wednesday, on Friday’s short but extremely hilly stage from Kroscienko nad Dunajcem to Zakopane the 22-year-old once again succeeded in crossing the finish line in first place.
The stage was decided in a tough uphill sprint, and the Columbia-HTC rider’s acceleration in the final 200 metres earned him the team’s 65th win of the season.
“It was amazing. Edvald must have won the sprint by at least two bike lengths,” said Columbia-HTC sports director Tristan Hoffman. “There was great teamwork involved in today’s win, too, because we had Michael Albasini in the main break of the day, working really hard. That way the rest of the team could wait for it all to unfold at the finish.”
“Having Michael in the break in the first part of the stage made a big difference,” Boasson Hagen said. “Once I got in a late move I could take advantage of all his good work from before. The final sprint was just the kind I like, as well – slightly uphill. I just waited for [race leader] Alessandro Ballan to go for it, then went past him.”
Boasson Hagen said the slightly different terrain in Poland’s second hill stages had been to his advantage.
“The climbs today were longer and steadier than on Thursday and they suited me better, so I got to the finish feeling good and in a good position. The tactics weren’t that complicated. It was really a question of waiting and watching my rivals right up until the last possible moment, then going for it in the sprint.”
Saturday’s final stage of the Tour of Poland is likely to end in a bunch sprint. Whilst Boasson Hagen recognises opportunities of beating Ballan are likely to be slim, he doesn’t rule it out completely.
“I’ll have a talk with Tristan tonight and we’ll go over the stage, although I think it will be very hard to beat Ballan. But if there’s a chance, you can be sure we’ll take it.”