Cycling: Boasson Hagen blasts to victory for Team Sky

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The Independent Online

A successful search for "clean air" saw Team Sky seize the fourth win of their debut season yesterday as Tour of Oman leader Edvald Boasson Hagen blasted to victory in stage three's bunch sprint.

After two frustratingly close top three places in as many days, Boasson Hagen said he had nailed the win thanks to Team Sky switching strategies and getting him – appropriately enough given his sponsor – "clean air", or space around him in the final sprint. "We changed our gameplan and accelerated for the line much earlier than usual, because with clear air I knew I could maintain a higher speed for longer," Boasson Hagen said. "I didn't have to worry about the other guys getting in the way."

Boasson Hagen's stage win simultaneously widened his overall lead to a 10-second margin on American sprinter Tyler Farrar, making the Norwegian odds-on favourite to clinch Sky's first ever stage race win in Friday's short final individual time trial. "We'll be riding the next two days to keep Edvald protected," said Sky team-mate and Olympic gold medallist Geraint Thomas. "If he starts Friday's time trial with the same overall advantage, he'll be difficult to beat."