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“Now we’re looking forward to tomorrow and a punchy final. The main objective is to not lose time for the GC guys but the stage tomorrow is a place where, with a little bit of luck and the right circumstance, you can gain some t...

Photo: Sirotti








17.02.2015 @ 16:36 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Team Sky came through the opening test at the Tour of Oman without issue as stage one was decided in a bunch kick.


Riding towards the front for much of the day, the entire eight-man team finished in the lead group following a sprint finish won by Andrea Guardini.


The Italian (Astana) prevailed in Al Wutayyah to take his first victory of the year, edging out Tom Boonen (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) to move into a slender four-second race lead.


Chris Sutton led Team Sky home in 14th as the Australian mixed it up in the sprint without the benefit of a full lead-out train. Wout Poels and Leopold Konig crossed the line 21st and 65th respectively without time-loss.


With Team Sky looking at the big picture and ahead to the general classification tests of stages four and five, the opening day was about staying safe.



Katusha controlled the pace and pulled on the front for much of the 161km stage, with Team Sky content sitting in behind as the stage took shape.


Jeff van Meirhaeghe (Topsport Vlaanderen), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Argon 18), Johann van Zyl (MTN Qhubeka) and Simone Andreetta (Bardiani-CSF) all combined to make up the day’s five-man break. The quintet saw their advantage stabilise at five minutes before the peloton began to chase.


With a stage so well suited to the fast men the race always looked likely to come back together and that proved to be the case heading into the final 30km.



“That was a fairly normal and straightforward sprint stage,” said Sports Director Nicolas Portal after the finish.


“Christian (Knees) told me he was really feeling good – Wout and Leo too which is good to hear. Christian was helping CJ in the last 10km but then unfortunately CJ lost his wheel in the final kilometre. That was a shame but we are happy to come through the day.


“Now we’re looking forward to tomorrow and a punchy final. The main objective is to not lose time for the GC guys but the stage tomorrow is a place where, with a little bit of luck and the right circumstance, you can gain some time. There are two climbs inside the final 25km. The last one you can see some punchy climbers or GC guys attack and it’s a finish where we need to be really focused. We have some good cards to play so we will see what happens.”



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