Sure, it’s not ONE ride, but it would just be wrong to mention one without the other, or one of their wins without the others. It took us about 5 seconds to see this title in itself was a tad limiting, so we expanded our minds (which had nothing to do with cleaning chains in the unventilated work shop) to recognize 12 rides, or riders, who stood out in 2009 with jaw-dropping, or head scratching achievements on the bike. May we humbly present, for your consideration, in no particular order…
Edvald Boasson Hagen
Edvald Boasson Hagen’s 2009 was spectacular for a rider all of 22 years of age. It’s hard to remember that he could still be racing in the Espoirs when you see him steamroll to sprint wins, solo wins, time trials, overalls – he’s a bike riding Renaissance Man.
Ed Hood recalls a very young Boasson Hagen blasting around the time trial course at Stuttgart Worlds in 2006: I remember I was following an Argentinean rider in the team car at the time trial Worlds in Stuttgart; Boasson Hagen caught and passed him so fast that I couldn’t get the lense cap off the camera in time, never mind shoot a picture – right there and then I thought; ‘he’s one to watch!’
Boasson Hagen bridging up to Kuschynski after the final climb of the Kemmelberg.
Fast forward to 2009 and Edvald Boasson-Hagen showed maturity far beyond his measly 22. Gent-Wevelgem stands high atop his 2009 palmares, head and shoulders in fact.
The hype leading into Gent-Wevelgem was entertaining: Tom Boonen and Mark Cavendish were engaged in a wordy battle of words and there was talk only of a sprint duel. Cervelo had no interest in something of that character, however, and blew the race to bits in the first hour. A 30-strong break formed with both Cervelo and Columbia well-endowed in the group. Cervelo played their cards a wee bit aggressively though, and found themselves wanting when the race was decided. Eventual winner, Boasson Hagen wasn’t immediately thinking victory though:
“When I was in the [first] breakaway I was actually working for Burghardt and Hincapie, but I felt good myself and thought I could go for it. I felt strong on the climb, so I attacked there and then got across to Kuschynski.”
Boasson Hagen notched his first Grand Tour stage win in 2009 as well – out of the break on a wet, cold Stage 7.
Kuschynski slammed his cards down on the table with a perfect move that left the rest of the break gasping. Boasson Hagen saw his opportunity, took it, bridged to the neon green Belorussian, then the two blasted off en route to Wevelgem. The sprint was a formality on paper, but Kuschynski put in a mighty effort and made Boasson Hagen work for it, but there was no denying the young rider nicknamed, Eddy.
Boasson Hagen took more than just a big win at Gent-Wevelgem though – he joined arguably the two best bike racers of the past half century to win Gent-Wevelgem at a very young age: Bernard Hinault and Eddy Merckx.
Ed: The way he bridged up to Kuschynski to win Gent – Wevelgem this year confirmed that he can win the best one day races; his total domination of the Tour of Britain did the same for his stage race reputation.
Boasson Hagen is equally adept on a time trial bike.
Boasson Hagen’s full 2009 campaign as a whopping 22 year old reads like the potential introduction to a future biography of greatness: Gent-Wevelgem, Overall Eneco Tour, Stages 6 and 7 Eneco Tour, Norwegian TT Champion, Stage 1 TTT Giro, Stage 7 Giro, Overall Tour of Britain, Stages 3, 4, 5, 6 at Tour of Britain, Stages 4 and 6 at Tour de Pologne, 4th Monte Paschi Eroica. At the end of the year he finished 6th overall in the season long UCI World Rankings.
Ed finishes it: The name of his new team is the limit for him in 2010 – SKY !
Boasson Hagen also gets the PEZ nomination for one of the best quotes of the year with his old school bombshell: “Sean Kelly? Sorry, I am not so good with cycling history. I just want to race.”
Tyler Farrar, like Boasson Hagen, exploded this year. Both of their breakout campaigns weren’t surprising, but they were nonetheless extremely notable. Farrar has been promising an entrance to the sport’s elite sprinters for some time now, but in 2009 he proved that he was one of the fastest men on two wheels.
Ed first spoke with Farrar at Tirreno-Adriatico after his stage win and gigantic scalping of Mark Cavendish. After that, the hits just kept on coming. He couldn’t quite pull off a stage win in either the Giro or the Tour, but he was constantly in the mix, constantly vying for the win.
Farrar’s win at the Vattenfall Cyclassics was top notch.
Right after the Tour, his luck took a major turn for the better, starting with the major one-day Classic, the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg, then moving on to the Eneco Tour. His post-Tour racing was a torrid, successful time. He took this new-found momentum to the Vuelta and netted his first Grand Tour stage with the 11th Stage.
After his breakout at Tirreno and Vattenfall, the wins just kept coming. Ed says what we’ve all been thinking: We hope that JV heeds Viktor’s pleas to get this man a proper train organised!
Farrar had the lead at the Eneco Tour for a little while, but eventually lost it to none other than Edvald Boasson Hagen.
Tyler Farrar’s 2009: Vattenfall Cyclassics, Stage 11 Vuelta, Stages 1, 2, and 4 at the Eneco Tour, Stage 3 Tirreno-Adriatico, 1st overall Circuit Franco-Belge, Stages 1 and 2 Circuit Franco-Belge, 1st Overall Delta Tour Zeeland, 1st Prologue Delta Tour Zeeland, and 18th in the UCI World Rankings.
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