Giro d’Italia 2009: Stage 7. Brutt third
If you tried saying his name ten times over, you might find your tongue twisted. But if there’s one rider to remember for the future, it’s Friday’s winner of the Giro’s seventh stage to Chiavenna, Edvald Boasson Hagen.
The 21-year-old – who is two days short of his 22nd birthday – Norweigan’s physical features and pathway to success bears an strong resemblance to that of his countryman, Thor Hushovd, 10 years his senior.
In height, they’re within two centimetres of each other, though Hushovd has a few kilos on him. Both have been national road and time trial champions, their natural strength soon translating to field sprints and Belgian Classics-style road races. And while Hushovd’s palmarès is littered with many more victories of note, Boasson Hagen’s April victory in Gent-Wevelgem this season – coming seven years earlier than Hushovd – demonstrated he’s got the goods to emulate – perhaps even surpass – “The God of Thunder”.
On a freddo (cold) day and wet, winding, pericoloso (dangerous) descent, Boasson Hagen and four others took massive risks to bridge to lone leader Alessandro Bertolini of Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni, who had won this way before.
Out of the lead quintet, he was the least experienced and there were two other sprinters to speak of. But this 1.81 metre-tall blond played the last kilometres like a wily, seasoned pro, covering all the moves to ensure victory would come down to a sprint.
Regardless, he must have known he was the strongest – he won by a mile.
1 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Columbia - Highroad 5.56.53 (40.685km/h) 2 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld 3 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Team Katusha 4 Davide Viganò (Ita) Fuji-Servetto 5 Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli 6 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) ISD 0.31 7 Matthew Goss (Aus) Team Saxo Bank 0.40 8 Allan Davis (Aus) Quick Step 9 Robert Forster (Ger) Team Milram 10 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Katusha