Tirreno - Adriatico

Boasson Hagen on top in Terni

Team victorious again in Italy

By Richard Simpson   Last updated: 10th March 2012

Edvald Boasson Hagen made it two wins in two days for Team Sky as he powered to victory on stage three at Tirreno-Adriatico.

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The Norwegian seized the initiative on a tough sprint into Terni and held off some of the world's best sprinters to claim the team's 10th win of the season.

The 24-year-old backed up the victory of world champion Mark Cavendish on Thursday as he held off Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) after opening up his sprint from a long way out.

Prior to the final dash the finish had been a tough one to control as the peloton pushed their way into a headwind; Team Sky opting to leave it late with their sprint train, a tactic which played out to perfection.

Race leader Matthew Goss (GreenEDGE) placed sixth on the line to retain the Maglia Azzura leader's jersey on what is likely the final chance for the sprinter's in "the Race of two Seas".

Doubling up

After the stage Boasson Hagen revealed that he only learned he would be sprinting heading into the closing stages with Cavendish, who still retained the points jersey, not feeling 100%.

The Norwegian said: "I found out at about six kilometres to go that Mark didn't feel so good and I knew I'd be sprinting. The whole team did a good job to keep me up towards the front. The guys with me did great work in the last kilometre. I'm really happy to win and that we managed to get the victory.

"It was a long sprint but I went and I knew I had to go for it. I know that I'm pretty good at long sprints and I've done it before. You never know what the other guys will do but it worked out well.

"Now we'll take it day by day. We have Thomas here for the GC so we will help him where we can and see where we end up."

Sports Director Servais Knaven mirrored Boasson Hagen's praise for the team and the ability of the riders to execute a different plan out on the road.

The Dutchman added: "Today was another great performance from the guys. It was an exciting stage again. We had Ian chasing the breakaway with some other teams.

"Everything was under control but then the last 60 kilometres were pretty tricky with steep ramps, up and down and a steep categorised climb. So it wasn't easy but the guys were good again, as we saw yesterday.

"At the end Cav didn't feel 100% for the sprint so we changed the plans to go full for Edvald and he finished it perfectly. The guys talked on the radio and Edvald immediately said 'okay' he would go for the sprint. He switched in his head and went for the stage so respect to him for that so close to the finish. Chapeau!"

Tricky finish

On watching events unfold in the sprint Knaven admitted: "Eddy moved up and we thought it was early but he finished it perfectly. It was a hard finish with the headwind and slightly uphill on cobbles. That is always a good sprint for Edvald and a really good way to finish it off. The team did some great work. CJ had a flat tyre within the last 10km but came back and made it to the front.

"We see how good the guys go in Paris-Nice and then those guys see the team winning over here so it gives everyone morale. Tomorrow we have the first mountain stage and Thomas here for GC. We'll take it day by day and give him the team's support."

As the flag dropped in Indicatore, Colnago-CSF showed their attacking credentials once again as Filippo Savini chipped off the front.

The lone ranger was allowed to build up a large gap in excess of 11 minutes while the peloton turned their attention to the first intermediate sprint at Castiglione Fiorentino.

Wearing the red points jersey following his stage win on Thursday, Cavendish jumped out of the pack to claim two bonus seconds, moving up to just 11 seconds off the lead in the process.

With Savini up the road Team Sky worked in tandem with GreenEDGE to set a tempo as a headwind conspired to hamper the Italian's efforts as the gap came down hand over fist.

Savini was finally swept up after 150km of effort on the run-in ahead of the first major stage finish into Terni since the 1995 Giro.

A headwind finish made it tough to put any kind of lead-out together, yet that did not stop Team Sky emerging just ahead of the flamme rouge to deliver Boasson Hagen to his second victory this season.

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