Boasson Hagen trains for Tour de France

Leading up to the biggest race of the year, the Norwegian cyclist shows promising form

Boasson Hagen cycling in the Tour of Norway

Photo: Stiehl Photography
Boassen Hagen cycled to victory in the Tour of Norway earlier this year.

Jo Christian Weldingh
Oslo, Norway

Tour de France, the biggest cycling event of the year, is just about to begin. Norwegian cyclist Edvald Boasson Hagen has shown in recent months that he’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the fight for the green point jersey this year, winning the Tour des Fjords at the end of May, just a couple of weeks after his overall victory at the Tour of Norway.

Boasson Hagen was trailing Dries Van Gestel from Belgium by five seconds before the finishing stage in Tour de Fjords, but because he did fairly well in the mid-race sprints, as the peloton neared the finish line, he only had to beat the Belgian with one second or more to claim the overall victory. Timo Roosen and Jeroen Meijers of the Netherlands broke away a few kilometers before the finish, but at the final stretch Boasson Hagen showed tremendous strength and overtook them both with a phenomenal long sprint. With this victory, the Norwegian secured his third stage win in a row and the overall victory in Tour de Fjords.

Boasson Hagen is confident and thinks all the training he has done, in addition to the recent competitions, has made him ready for the French highways.

“The confidence and competition training you get from winning races is important. It’s hard to train for mass sprints and other important situations outside competitions,” he told the press. “I feel good, I do, but the level in Tour de France is a big step up, and I hope I will be able to improve my form even more.”

Boasson Hagen has been continuing his preparations for the Tour de France, which begins on July 1, by participating in Critérium du Dauphiné and the Norwegian Championship. Even though he recognizes that the level is a bit higher than in Tour de Fjords, for example, he feels confident that he will be able to fight for individual stage wins.

“My goal every year is to go for stage wins. It’s a big step up, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Norwegians Alexander Kristoff, Vegard Stake Laengen, and Sven Erik Bystrøm are also confirmed for the Tour de France, while Sondre Holst Enger was not able to prove himself and get the green light from his team.

Considering its small population, Norway has a pretty good history in Tour de France with 16 stage wins and two green jerseys, which is no small feat given the fact that cycling is one of the absolute biggest sports in Europe. The sport got a bump in popularity in Norway when Thor Hushovd started winning Tour de France stages in the early 2000s, winning 10 in total. Soon Tour de France was broadcast on national television, and Hushovd’s popularity made recruitment in local cycling clubs increase drastically. This rise in recruitment might explain why Norway set a new national record last year with four participants in the Tour the France.

Jo Christian Weldingh grew up in Lillehammer, Norway, but is currently living in Oslo. He has a BA in Archaeology from The University of Oslo and a BA in Business Administration from BI Norwegian Business School.

This article originally appeared in the June 30, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.