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MTN Qhubeka’s push to ride the Tour de France appears to have received a boost, with the Norwegian media reporting that Edvald Boasson Hagen is to announce a two year deal to ride for the team.
On Tuesday VG.no stated that Boasson Hagen has agreed a two year contract with a new team, and that the details would be confirmed at a press conference in Oslo on Wednesday afternoon.
It said that the rider and his manager Birger Hungerholdt would both be present.
TV2.no has followed that up with a piece of its own, stating that the team in question is MTN Qhubeka and that Boasson Hagen’s signing will help it in its push to be part of the sport’s biggest event.
“Many people are probably surprised that he goes to a team in the [Pro Continental] division, but I know that the team will upgrade to get an invitation to the Tour de France,” it quotes its cycling expert Mads Kaggestad.
“One million Euro is mentioned. It is well below what he earns with Sky today. He has not had a super season, and it is natural that he gets paid less.”
MTN Qhubeka made headlines in 2013 when it won Milan-Sanremo with Gerald Ciolek. His ongoing presence on the team helped it secure a wildcard for the Vuelta a España, and he told CyclingTips recently that he was aiming for a stage win there.
Ciolek will be part of the team next year and, if Boasson Hagen’s signing is indeed confirmed, the duo will be a strong partnership for the Classics and stage races.
It is thought that the team will also secure other big name acquisitions for 2015. These would also help its push for a Tour de France invite.
Boasson Hagen turned pro with Team High Road in 2008, later HTC Columbia. He quickly got up to speed, winning the 2009 Gent Wevelgem, Eneco Tour and Tour of Britain races, taking a stage of the Giro d’Italia in the same year, netting two stages in the 2011 Tour de France, winning the Eneco Tour again in 2011 and also picking up the Vattenfall Cyclassics.
In 2012 he won the GP Ouest France and the Glava Tour of Norway, and successfully defended his title in the latter event last season.
However his career progression has faltered in the past two seasons and this has prompted a move out of Team Sky. He is hoping to get things back on track with a new squad. It is expected that this afternoon’s press conference will confirm that team is MTN Qhubeka, where he will be one of the undisputed leaders.