Lutsenko wins Tour of Oman, Kristoff claims final stage

Muscat: Kazakh Alexey Lutsenko clinched overall victory at the Tour of Oman as Norwegian Alexander Kristoff won Sunday’s sixth and final stage.
Kristoff sprinted to victory along the Muscat corniche, a hair ahead of France’s Bryan Coquard and Giamco Nizzolo of Italy in a little over three hours on the 135.5-km course. And the bunch sprint finish meant overnight leader Lutsenko held on to claim overall victory with Astana team-mate Miguel Moreno of Colombia second and Spaniard Gorka Insausti third.

As with the previous stages this week, on the wide dual carriageways bypassing Muscat a breakaway formed soon after kilometre zero. Frenchman Cavagna, Xandro Farazijn (Sport Vlaanderen), Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Groupe Gobert, Pim Ligthart (Roompot-Nederlandse Lotterij) and Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural), all veterans of previous breakaways this week, quickly built a lead of 4.50. Behind, with a bunch finish likely, and Meurisse 9-29 down, the closest on general classification, the Astana team of race leader Lutsenko left the chase to the sprinter’s teams.

The day’s two classified climbs at 83 and 100km and, on the approach to those and the finishing laps on the Corniche beyond them, the peloton began closing in on the five escapees. By the time the leaders crossed the line for the first of three times, with 22km remaining, the gap was down to 1.15, the bunch toying with the remaining escapees, Cavagna and Ligthart.

In the final kilometres, Cavagna went solo, crossing the finish line for the penultimate time with just 30 seconds advantage but with the bunch behind the sprint final became inevitable. As has been the case in each edition since its introduction in 2010, the overall was won on Green Mountain on Saturday’s queen stage. Lutsenko finishing second there behind team-mate Miguel Angel Lopez, himself taking second on the general classification, winning the young rider’s competition.

Kristoff’s sprint success takes to eight the number of stages the Norwegian has won in Oman, a record for the event. Top placed British rider was Aqua Blue’s Mark Christian in 35th place, with Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) five places further down. Former British champion Adam Blythe, who was targeting the stage, was disqualified for taking an irregular bike change late in the 135.5-km sage between Al Mouj and Muttrah Corniche.