Saud races to top in fourth stage

Talal takes close second, Pietruszka finishes third in OCA Championship 

Ahli Sidab ‘A’ cyclist Saud al Mandhari romped home with a timing of 1 hour 16 minutes and 29.12 seconds in the Oman Cycling Association (OCA) Championship fourth stage on the weekend.
Saud’s teammate Talal al Maskari missed out on top spot by matter of seconds as he clocked 1:16:29.54, while Polish rider Szczepan Pietruska of North Road Oman finished third on 1:16:29.59 in the 98 km individual road race with 10 laps from the Civil Aviation Club building near the Muscat International Airport to The Wave.
North Road Oman’s Paul Willcox of United Kingdom kept his overall lead in Open category for Omantel jersey despite finishing 28th with a timing of 1:16:31.00 among the 97 riders who competed on Friday.
Willcox leads with 233 points after four stages but Mundher al Hasani of Ahli Sidab ‘A’ has come within a touching distance of Willcox with 230 points.
Another U-23 rider Abdullah al Ghilani of Arsen Endurance is overall third with 216 points. Saud al Mandhari of Ahli Sidab ‘A’ (Elite) is fourth with 196 points and U-23 rider Mohammed al Wahibi, winner of the third stage, is fifth with 177 points.
In Under-23 category, Talal al Maskari took the top spot, followed by Abdullah al Ghilani (1:16:29.85) and Waleed al Fahdi (1:16:29.85).
Abdullah al Ghilani is the overall leader in the U-23 category for Bank Nizwa jersey with 170 points. Mundher al Hasani is second with 165 points and Waleed al Fahdi is third with 145 points.
Pietruska topped the 40 plus section, Mohammed al Kindi claimed second (1:16:30.87) and Willcox finished third.
Willcox also leads the 40 plus category for the Sohar International Jersey with 190 points. Pietruska is second with 130 points and Ayman al Wahibi is third with same points.

Among the teams, Ahli Sidab ‘A’ (Saud al Mandhari, Talal al Maskari and Mundher al Hasani) are on top with 285 points, while Arsen Endurance (Abdullah al Ghilani, Waleed al Fahdi and Abdullah al Hashmi) are second on 185 points and Ahli Sidab B (Mohammed al Lamki, Mazin Al Farei and Bader al Mandhari) are third on 150 points.
Gulf Cycles are fourth on 128 points and North Road Oman are fifth on 115 points.
OCA President Saif al Rashdi, who was the chief guest for the concluding ceremony, gave away the prizes for the top three winners in various categories.
Saif al Rashdi congratulated the riders for their enthusiastic participation and promised good work by the OCA team in the upcoming stages. “The riders have put up challenging performances and hence raised the standard of the OCA Championship. The OCA is assuring all riders for further support in the coming races too,” he said.
Next race, Stage 5 of the total eight stages, will be held on the New Year Day, January 1, 2021. It will be a 123 km road race with three laps in Nizwa.

Anuroop Athiparambath
Muscat, Dec 20