MUSCAT: Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb) claimed the Tour of Oman’s second uphill finish on stage 3 of the race with the 22-year-old beating Rui Coast (Team UAE Abu Dhabi) and race leader Ben Hermans (BMC Racing) to the line in Qurayat, according to Cyclingnews.
The Dane, who won the white jersey in last year’s Tour of Qatar, timed his sprint for the line perfectly after a number of late attacks had been reeled in by the bunch.
The stage had been marked by a six-man break that formed in the early kilometres after a frantic start.
Matthew Brammeier (Aqua Blue Sport), Chun Kai Feng (Bahrain Merida), Bert Van Lerberghe (Sport Vlaanderen–Baloise), Gavin Mannion (UnitedHealthcare), Kazushige Kuboki (Nippo – Vini Fantini), and Frantisek Sisr (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) all made it into the move with the group establishing a 3:45 lead after 25 kilometres of racing.
As the race wound towards the coast and the sun broke through the cloud cover, the gap extended to just over four minutes as BMC Racing set tempo on the front of the peloton.
At the summit of Bausher-Al Amerat, it was Kuboki who took the maximum number of climbing points, but a slight headwind after the climb began to hamper the leaders.
With Katusha and Astana shuttling to the front to help with the chase, the gap immediately
began to drop with the six out front seeing their advantage reduced to 2:15 with 50 kilometres still to race.
The final ascent may have been shallower in pitch than what the riders were faced with on stage 2, but the sprint into the final climb on stage 3 was nothing but frenetic as teams looked to position their climbers as close to the front as possible. That surge was enough to reel in the break with 15 kilometres remaining.
As the climb started, the peloton shed itself of the weakest riders and it was a resurgent Julian Arredondo (Nippo-Vini Fantini) who moved clear.
The Colombian endured a difficult final season at Trek, but he initially looked strong as he opened up a gap. When Arredondo faded Laurens De Plus (Quick-Step Floors) took up the reins, but he too couldn’t hold off the late charge and the Belgian eventually crossed the line in fourth, Cyclingnews reported.
Earlier, the stage began in front of the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Centre at the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) in the Wilayat of Al Seeb for a distance of 162 km.
Dr Ali bin Saud al Bimani, SQU Vice Chancellor, declared the start of the stage 3.
The cyclists crossed the SQU intersection, Burj A’Sahwa roundabout, Al Irfan intersection and then to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque’s street in Bausher, the Royal Hospital traffic lights to Grand Mall intersection to the way of Qurayat road till the exit of Al Amerat and Qurayat —Muscat road and finally to Qurayat hill.
At the end of the stage, Shaikh Yahya bin Nasser al Harrasi, Wali of Qurayat, honoured top winners in the presence of local officials and dignitaries.
TOUR OF OMAN RESULTS
Read as position, rider, country, team, timing
1. Soren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb 3:53:11
2. Rui Costa (Por) Team UAE Abu Dhabi (same time)
3. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team (s.t)
4. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors (s.t)
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team (s.t)
6. David De La Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors (s.t)
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale (s.t)
8. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data (s.t)
9. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:04
10. Lachlan Morton (Aus)
Dimension Data (s.t)
General classification after stage 3
1. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team 11:00:15
2. Rui Costa (Por) Team UAE Abu Dhabi 0:00:02
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:10
4. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data 0:00:18
5. David De La Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:21
6. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale (s.t)
7. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors (s.t)
8. Soren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb (s.t)
9. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:25
10. Janier Acevedo (Col) UnitedHealthcare (s.t)