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“I’m feeling pretty good. I was feeling pretty good already in Qatar and I’ve taken two stages here now, so I’m pretty happy with that. I was hoping for it of course but I didn’t expect it."

Photo: Muscat Municipality/Paumer/Kåre Dehlie Thorstad

AG2R LA MONDIALE

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BORA-HANSGROHE

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CCC DEVELOPMENT TEAM

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DIMENSION DATA

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DOMINIK NERZ

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EDVALD BOASSON HAGEN

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EMANUEL BUCHMANN

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GEORGE BENNETT

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GERALD CIOLEK

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GREG VAN AVERMAET

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JAKOB FUGLSANG

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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MARCO CANOLA

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PATRICK KONRAD

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PIETER WEENING

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ROMAIN BARDET

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ROOMPOT-CHARLES

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RUI ALBERTO FARIA DA COSTA

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SIMONE PONZI

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STÖLTING SERVICE GROUP

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SVEN ERIK BYSTRØM

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TOM DUMOULIN

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TOUR OF OMAN

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING

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VINCENZO NIBALI

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20.02.2016 @ 20:04 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) continued the Norwegian domination of the Middle East by claiming his second stage win at the Tour of Oman on the penultimate day of the race. After a breakaway with his teammate Jacques van Rensburg was caught with less than 10km to go, he came out on top in a 40-rider sprint as he held off Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Marco Canola (Unitedhealthcare). Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) responded to Romain Bardet’s (Ag2r) attacks and defended the overall lead.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Edvald Boasson Hagen: I knew I was good but I didn’t expect this

The 5th stage of the Tour of Oman would be a real highlight for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka as Edvald Boasson Hagen sprinted to victory after Jacques Janse van Rensburg spent all day in the breakaway.

 

The day started according to plan for the  African Team as Jacques Janse van Rensburg jumped into the early break of the day with Pieter Weening (Roompot) and Hugo Houle (AG2R La Mondiale). The trio got away inside the opening 10km of the stage and powered ahead to a 6-minute lead.

 

Janse van Rensburg was clearly the strongest in the break as he took all 4 King of the Mountain primes on offer and his accelerations on the penultimate climb dropped Houle while Weening was also distanced, but would later return on the descent. With the South African climber forcing the pace up front, the peloton had its work cut out to try and reel the escapees back.

 

Astana and Bora were the two teams having to do all the chasing as Boasson Hagen and the rest of the African Team could conserve energy in the peloton. While the peloton was slowly bringing Janse van Rensburg and Weening back, the effort it required certainly took its toll on the group as a number of riders were getting dropped over the 3 shark tooth climbs of the day. This played perfectly into the team’s hands with Janse van Rensburg up the road and Boasson Hagen now in a reduced group with still a number of teammates to support him.

 

With 10km to go, the gap to Weening and Janse van Rensburg had dropped to 45 seconds. It would be touch and go for the former South African champion but in the end he came up 2km short of the line. The catch of the break then prompted the African Team to deliver Boasson Hagen to the line and they did this in fine fashion. The Norwegian champion showed the reduced group a clean pair of heels, sprinting to his 2nd victory of the week.

 

Janse van Rensburg's fine effort was rewarded with the Combative Jersey on the podium and Boasson Hagen also regained the lead in the Points Jersey competition. With Nathan Haas also finishing 10th on the stage, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka also kept the lead in the Best Team competition.


It was really good to have Jacques in the break so we didn't have to chase from behind,” Boasson Hagen said.” He did a really good job up there and we could just focus on sitting up front all day and not use up too much energy, so that was perfect. After the last climb Jacques was caught and we still had guys in the group. So Serge Pauwels, Merhawi Kudus and Nathan were able to do a really good leadout for me in the last kilometer. I just had to open up my sprint with 200m to go so I am really happy to win after all the great team work today. 

 

“I’m feeling pretty good. I was feeling pretty good already in Qatar and I’ve taken two stages here now, so I’m pretty happy with that. I was hoping for it of course but I didn’t expect it.

 

“We had a plan that Jacques was going to go in the break, so we wouldn’t have to chase from behind all day. The rest of the guys on the other teams needed to do the work, and we could just relax.

 

“I was able to sit near the front and the rest of the team was around me. When we came down to the flat after the last descent, Jacques was closed down, so we started the lead-out then, and it was really nice to have that support from the team. I feel sorry for Jacques because he was so close to winning, but I feel happy for myself.

 

“I’ve been feeling good but I’m not a climber. I just wanted to do my best [yesterday] and I wanted to do a big effort to see how well I could do. I didn’t expect to do as well as that, so I was happy.”

 

“I knew they were coming but I was looking around and I didn’t really see them so I thought okay, maybe I’d have to sprint,” Van Rensburg said. “Then when I saw them coming, I was a little bit disappointed but cycling is a team sport. I’m just happy we could win a stage with Edvald.”

 

”It was a big ride by our team and everything went according to what we put down on paper yesterday,” sports director Jean Pierre Heynderickx said. “Jacques did a very strong ride and he had to attack to break the group up, so we could drop the fast sprinters before the final. At the end it almost looked like he might even take the victory but they caught him with 2km to go. In the group we still had Merhawi, Serge, Nathan and Edvald. So today after the win we also took the points jersey, aggressive ride jersey and still lead the team competition so it has been a great day.”

 

Greg Van Avermaet: For the moment I can’t beat Boasson Hage

Greg Van Avermaet again showed his good form early in the season, sprinting to second place on stage 5 of the Tour of Oman behind Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data). 

 

Stage 5 may have been a short one at only 119.5km, but the triple ascent of the Bousher Al Amerat climb made for a tough day of racing.

 

A three rider breakaway formed early in the stage and managed to hold the peloton off until the second Bousher Al Amerat climb, making way for attacks on the last ascent and run in to the finish.

 

Michael Schär put in the hard yards to bridge the gap for Van Avermaet on the final descent, eventually forming a group of 40 riders who were left to sprint to the line.

 

It came together late in the stage for Van Avermaet.

 

"It was a short stage with a hard start. We didn't control the race which was pretty important I think. We were not the big favorites for today because the climbs were pretty hard, but I came in at the end in a really good position.

 

"The team did a great job in bringing everything back together and it was me and Boasson Hagen against each other in the sprint again. I think Boasson Hagen is just in really good shape and for the moment I couldn't beat him.

 

“Boasson Hagen’s in a great form, and he showed that by staying with the leaders for so long on Green Mountain yesterday. But I’m very happy with my condition. It would have been better to get a win, but I’m up there the whole time.

 

"It is a different way of racing here than the Classics in Europe. The roads here are wider so you have more time to recover compared to the narrow roads in Belgium so I'm looking forward to getting back to Europe to race."

 

BMC Racing Team Sports Director Fabio Baldato praised the team's performance.

 

"Today's stage was not a course that was particularly suited to our riders with the steep climbs, so they did a great job to put Greg in a good position for the sprint. Daniel Oss attacked on the second climb to try and bridge the gap to the breakaway and make the race harder for everyone and Michael Schär fought to remain with Greg on the final climb and bring him to the front group for the sprint."

 

Tomorrow the peloton lines up for the final stage of Tour of Oman, 130.5km from The Wave Muscat and finishing with three laps of the Matrah Corniche. 

 

Marco Canola sprints to third in tough Oman stage

Marco Canola achieved the first noteworthy result for Unitedhealthcare by sprinting to third.

 

“Well,podium today,but we have to fight more and more for take a win!Thanks to All my mates @UHCprocycling for the support,” he tweeted after the stage.

 

Simone Ponzi on track for Sanremo and Tirreno after near-miss in Oman

Simone Ponzi was close to taking the first podium spot of the 2016 season for CCC Sprandi Polkowice, as he finished 4th in Stage 5 of Tour of Oman. He was sprinting from a 40-rider group, which included also Davide Rebellin and Adrian Honkisz. 

 

”I had a little bit of bad luck in the final 1km. I lost 3-4 positions and I had to start the sprint from 7-8th place in the group. I think the podium was within reach because I lost to Canola only by a hair. A photo finish was needed to determine who got 3rd. Boasson Hagen is basically out of reach for the rest of the sprinters, so it would have been very hard to take the win,” Ponzi said afterwards.

 

”Of course it would be nice to claim the top 3, but I am also satisfied with 4th. I feel that the form is improving and I should be ready for my main goals of the cycling spring – Milano-Sanremo and Tirreno-Adriatico.”

 

Gerald Ciolek shows great form in tough Oman stage

Gerald Ciolek held his own and took the sixth place.

 

“Linus Gerdemann helped Gerald, sheltering him from the wind going into the last climb,” said Stölting sports director André Steensen. “After Christian Mager was caught, he helped Gerald by bringing him back over the top of the climb. It was a very nice performance today. For Gerald, it was impressive to be to be up there with only 35 guys left, this shows promising form for the upcoming races. We’re very pleased with this result.”

 

Sven Erik Bystrøm pleased with top 10 finish in Oman

KATUSHA’s Sven Erik Bystrøm finished 7th.

 

”I felt ok, but not super. After the last climb, I was in the second group, but I managed to come back. I want to thank Pavel (Kochetkov) and Jurgen (Van den Broeck) who supported me and let me do the sprint, bringing me back in front. In the sprint I tried to stay on Van Avermaet's wheel, but I struggled a bit in the last corner and later it was a real mess at the finish line. I feel like my form is ok. It could be a little bit better, but, taking into account my knee problems in December and consequently some weeks with almost no training, I am pretty happy with my condition after two racing weeks in Qatar and Oman,” explained Sven Erik Bystrøm.

 

Morale boost for Marco Marcato in Oman

Marco Marcato sprinted to ninth place.

 

"I was very motivated today and tried to be in the breakaway. When I saw there were only three I changed plans and stayed with the top riders until the finish. For the sprint I was well-positioned but some riders passed me on the inside so I lost a few places. But my form is growing and this is morale boost," he said.

 

Kenny Dehaes lost his most aggressive rider jersey and can't win it back in the last stage unfortunately. Tomorrow is another chance for Roy Jans.

 

Bora-Argon 18 with three riders near the front in Oman mountains

Several attempts on the last climb split the bunch into small groups. Emanuel Buchmann was leading the second group, just a few seconds behind a group of 5, including Nibali. On the decent a group of 34 riders came together and challenged each other for the stage win.

 

Besides Emanuel Buchmann, Patrick Konrad and Dominik Nerz finished on the same time as the stage winner. This means that there have been no changes in the GC, with Buchmann still in 12th position, 2:15 down on Vincenzo Nibali. In the young rider’s classification Buchmann and Konrad moved up one spot and are now in 4th and 5th place.

 

Vincenzo Nibali: Jakob Fuglsang controlled all the attacks

"The final was very nervous and the boys helped me a lot. I have to thank them so much,” said Vincenzo Nibali.

 

“They tried to attack us but we replied without many problems. I have not won this Tour of Oman yet, tomorrow is another day.

 

“Today was hard stage because we had to do that climb three times in the finale, and it was made tougher by the fact that we had the effects of yesterday’s efforts in our leg. My team controlled it well and I had Scarponi and Fuglsang with me in the finale, so it was perfect.

 

“It was a nervous stage, very difficult. In years past, this has been a very difficult stage to manage, but my condition was very good, and together with Fuglsang, we looked to control things on the last time up the climb.

 

 “Bardet attacked right at the top of the climb but then right at the start of the descent, there was another section where the road went up again, and Pozzovivo tried there. But we always closed down the moves, we were very attentive.

 

“There were a lot of attacks. Tom Dumoulin tried to break clear, Bennett too, and Rui Costa made a very strong attack, but Fuglsang was controlling everything.

 

“We wanted to keep the race under control and we also knew Scarponi was just behind, so at the bottom of the descent we were able to wait for him to get back on. It was calmer after that, and we got to the finish in that group for the sprint.”

 

“We’ll see how tomorrow goes first, there’s still another day still to come. But I’m in a good moment right now, we’ve had a good week and I’m looking ahead to the next objectives.”

 

Romnain Bardet: The headwind made it impossible

Romain Bardet tried to attack on the final climb but was unable to drop Vincenzo Nibali.

 

“It was a complicated. The team did a good job, but here was a headwind in the finale after the climb so it was hard for anyone to get away,” he told Cyclingnews after the stage.

 

Rui Costa attacks don't pay off in Omani mountains

Rui Costa rolled across the line in 20th to defend fifth overall.

 

"It seemed that the day would be easier. Although short, it was a very aggressive stage. I attacked twice on the last climb but to no avail. Up to 2km from the finish, we were only a group of about 15 riders in the chase but we ended up getting together for the finish. The opponents are strong and today was the day to make differences in the overall standings. My legs are ok and every day they are getting more pace," he wrote on Facebook.

"Tomorrow is the final day of competition. I think that today failed to create differences due to the fast pace. Tomorrow will also be difficult. But let's be attentive."

 

LottoNL-Jumbo impressed by Bennett’s improvement in Oman

George Bennett of Team LottoNL-Jumbo finished 26th in the penultimate stage of the Tour of Oman on Saturday. Bennett led the team in black and yellow in the group of 36, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) took the victory and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) kept the overall lead. 

 

Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s were tasked to drop George Bennett off at the foot of the first of a series of three climbs on the final circuit.

 

Sport Director Jan Boven said, “The sprint train made progress since Qatar. The riders became better coordinated. George drove away on that climb in a seven-man group, but the bunch closed the gap again."

 

Bennett joined the team for Oman after travelling from New Zealand and showed good progression after a few days of jetlag.

 

"You see that George has made some significant progress," continued Boven. "Last year, he could not do this. The other guys are in condition, too, and that builds confidence towards the classics. On Monday, we fly back home and then on Saturday, we start Omloop Het Nieuwsblad."

 

The final Oman stage tomorrow suits a sprinter. Boven ordered the squad to conserve as much energy as possible today.

 

"Hofland has already showed his fast legs here. That's why I gave the team the task to work for George, to drop him off, and then to save as much energy as possible for tomorrow. Since Qatar, you can see that the team is growing in form and in self-confidence."

 

The final stage on Sunday covers 130 kilometres with two hills.

 

Tom Dumoulin still close to the podium in Oman

The objective of Team Giant-Alpecin riders was to look after Tom Dumoulin and keep him fresh for the last part of the stage. They did this perfectly and with the peloton heading towards the final climb of the day, he was at the front of the peloton.

 

On the final climb, the race saw many attacks with the GC contenders but no significants gaps were made. While the breakaway came to an end on the descent, Tom Dumoulin managed to stay in contact with the first group and he safely crossed the finish line in 27th place without losing time in the general classification. He remains in 4th position in the GC.

 

After the stage, coach Luke Roberts said: “The goal of the stage was to look for the breakaway as it had a chance to go all the way. Unfortunately, the team didn’t have any riders in the break and we then focused on looking after to Tom Dumoulin.

 

“The team Lampre-Merida chased hard to close the break and on the final climbs, the peloton broke up into many groups. Tom was feeling the effects of yesterday’s tough stage but he showed a strong performance on the climbs and he managed to stay in the first group of about 30 riders without a problem.”

 

Pieter Weening frustrated by van Rensburg’s tactics after near-miss in Oman

“The chance of successful attack is always only very small, "Pieter Weening told De Telegraaf after having been caught 2km from the finish.

 

”Of course you know that this kind of game is part of the races. Van Resnburg took a few turns in the run up to the steep climb. After that, he did nothing more.

 

“In the last 10km I have done the work, but of course you keep something in reserve. You want to keep some forces for a sprint.

 

“We were both believing in our chances. We were definitely out of sight of the remaining pursuers. But yes, I cannot blame van Resnburg. His teammate Boasson Hagen eventually won the sprint. So he did a fantastic job. It is frustrating but I know that this is also part of cycling.”

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