Cycling: Crowds flock to salute king of Norway
Sunday 20 September 2009
Edvald Boasson Hagen sealed overall victory in the eight-day Tour of Britain that ended in front of huge crowds in central London yesterday.
The 22-year-old Norwegian finished in the main bunch after Italy's Michele Merlo of the British-registered Barloworld team had won the high-speed sprint finish.
Boasson Hagen won four of the eight stages and finished 23sec ahead of Australia's Chris Sutton. Russell Downing was best British rider in fifth place at 39sec.
Boasson Hagen is currently ranked theNo 3 rider in the world and will compete for the new British Team Sky squad in 2010. They feel they have signed the most talented rider in the sport.
"It's really good to win this race after all the hard work by the team. I'm really happy for me and for them," Boasson Hagen said after pulling on the winner's yellow jersey.
"This is my second stage race victory this year. I also won the Eneco Tour but this is special too. It was amazing to win in the centre of London because there were huge crowds. I didn't expect to take four stages, so it's been a fantastic week."
In Spain, Britain's David Millar won the 26km time trial penultimate stage of the Vuelta Espana in Toledo. Millar (pictured) posted a time of 35min 53sec to beat Spain's Samuel Sanchez and Australia's Cadel Evans by a few seconds. The three-week Vuelta ends in Madrid today with Spain's Alejandro Valverde set for overall victory.
It was Millar's first individual win since the British National Time Trial Championships back in 2007.
"For me it's huge to have done this. I've been working hard to get a win all year and I'm very proud of it," said the 32-year-old Scot, riding for Garmin-Slipstream.
Millar's victory confirms his great form for this week's world championships in Switzerland.
He had planned to miss Thursday's time trial and focus on Sunday's road race but that may change after his victory at the Vuelta.
Britain's Tour de France hero Bradley Wiggins will focus solely on the time trial. He failed to finish the Tour of Britain but believes he has a real chance of upsetting the Swiss favourite Fabian Cancellara to claim the world title.
"I've said all year that I want a medal because it'll top off a great season for me. Of course I won't say no to the win and the world title either," Wiggins said.
"I don't want to say I can beat Fabian Cancellara. He's the undoubted favourite but I do think I've got the better of other people like last year's winner Bert Grabsch."
The full Great Britain team for the world championships could be named tomorrow.
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