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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Ulissi takes over Yitti Hills

Italian climbs up to second overall behind Jorgenson
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Italian puncheur Diego Ulissi claimed success in his third attempt when he triumphed over Yitti Hills in the fourth stage of Tour of Oman on Tuesday.


The UAE Team Emirates rider had come close to victory in the Qurayat and Al Hamra stages earlier.


“I’m delighted with this first victory of the season. It was a hard stage. Ackermann attacked with 8 km to go and on the final climb, Laengen and Formolo did the perfect job for setting up the sprint. Ackermann’s attack softened up the bunch well and we took a great victory. We’ve started the season very well as a team,” Ulissi said.


The peloton faced an explosive finale in Stage 4, the longest of the Tour of Oman 2023 (204.9 km), with a couple of ascents in the last 10 km. UAE Team Emirates’ Pascal Ackermann took the charge in these up and down sections before he was caught with 2 km to go. Ulissi took over then in show of command to take victory ahead of Axel Zingle (Cofidis) and Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe).


Stage 3 winner Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) retained the leader’s red jersey with a 13th place finish in Stage 4 and overall timing of 16:02:36. Ulissi moved up to second overall after the win to stay 5 seconds off the leader. Mauri Vansevenant of Soudal Quick-Step is third (+05).


Geoffrey Bouchard of AG2R Citroen Team (+14), Maxim Van Gils of Lotto Dstny (+15) and Jesus Herrada of Cofidis (+16) are other riders in contention for the overall title as the Tour concludes with the final challenge with the mighty climb up Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountain) on Wednesday. The final stage 5 is from Samayil to Jabal Al Akhdhar (152.2 km).


UAE Team Emirates’ Ryan Gibbons said his team is ready for battle on the final day of the Tour of Oman. “Today is a good day for Ulissi, maybe Ackermann can make it as well. And tomorrow, Green Mountain separates the boys from the men.”


Dversnes overtakes Meijers


The stage started in Izki with Josef Cerny (Soudal Quick-Step) making a strong effort and Jeroen Meijers (Terengganu Polygon) looking to defend his golden jersey as the leader of the most aggressive rider classification.


Ahead of the first intermediate sprint (52.4 km), Fredrik Dversnes seized the opportunity to take 3 points and lead the virtual standings against Meijers (13 pts vs 11).


The bunch of attackers including U23 World Champion Yevgeniy Fedorov (Astana Qazaqstan), Urko Berrade (Kern Pharma) and the winner of the African Games, Youcef Reguigui (Terengganu Polygon) raced for two hours at 47.3km/h to eventually catch up with Dversnes.


In the last 100 km with the lead at 3’40’’, Matteo Jorgenson’s Movistar drove the bunch to defend the red jersey and they quickly received support from Arkea-Samsic and Cofidis. They control the gap of around 2 minutes. Reguigui dominated the second intermediate sprint (49.2 km to go) ahead of Dversnes. Reguigui dropped back to the bunch as his breakaway companions entered the last 20 km with a lead of 1’10’’.


Italian Diego Ulissi of UAE Team Emirates reacts after winning the fourth stage of the 2023 Tour of Oman, from Izki to Yitti Hills, on February 14, 2023. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)
Italian Diego Ulissi of UAE Team Emirates reacts after winning the fourth stage of the 2023 Tour of Oman, from Izki to Yitti Hills, on February 14, 2023. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

ACKERMANN ATTACKS, ULISSI DELIVERS


Dversnes, Fedorov and Berrade are caught at the bottom of the penultimate climb of the day, in Al Jissah (2.5 km at 6.9 per cent). Maxim Van Gils (Lotto Dstny) and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan) set a brutal pace on the ascent and a small group emerges at the front.


Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) attacks on the downhill and manages to open a gap of 25’’ but was caught inside the last 2 km. Ivan Cobo (Kern Pharma) then launched a counter-attack on the final ascent (1.6 km at 6.6 per cent). He was caught right at the summit, inside the last kilometre. Ulissi showed his expertise to prevail over the reduced bunch in a sprint for the stage win.


Italian Diego Ulissi of UAE Team Emirates poses in the green jersey on the podium after winning the fourth stage of the 2023 Tour of Oman, from Izki to Yitti Hills, on February 14, 2023. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)
Italian Diego Ulissi of UAE Team Emirates poses in the green jersey on the podium after winning the fourth stage of the 2023 Tour of Oman, from Izki to Yitti Hills, on February 14, 2023. (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

TOUR OF OMAN STAGE 4 RESULTS


1. Diego Ulissi (ITA) UAE Team Emirates 04:36:48


2. Axel Zingle (FRA) Cofidis + 00


3. Ide Schelling (NED) BORA-hansgrohe + 00


4. Jordi Warlop (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step + 00


5. Louis Bendixen (DEN) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team + 00


6. Jenthe Biermans (BEL) Team Arkea-Samsic + 00


7. Andrea Vendrame (ITA) AG2R Citroën Team + 00


8. Maxim Van Gils (BEL) Lotto Dstny + 00


9. Jesus Herrada (ESP) Cofidis + 00


10. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana Qazaqstan Team + 00


GENERAL CLASSIFICATION


1. Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar Team 16:02:36


2. Diego Ulissi (ITA) UAE Team Emirates + 05


3. Mauri Vansevenant (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step + 05


4. Geoffrey Bouchard (FRA) AG2R Citroen Team + 14


5. Maxim Van Gils (BEL) Lotto Dstny + 15


6. Jesus Herrada (ESP) Cofidis + 16


7. Rein Taaramae (EST) Intermarche-Circus-Wanty + 18


8. Victor Langellotti (MON) Burgos-BH + 18


9. Cian Uijtdebroeks (BEL) BORA-hansgrohe + 18


10. Cristian Rodriguez (ESP) Team Arkéa-Samsic + 18


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