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Gesink not only defended his lead, he extended it.

Rabobank’s Robert Gesink extended his lead of the Tour of Oman on Saturday after claiming victory in the fifth and penultimate stage, an 18-kilometer individual time trial.

Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) finished second in the race against the clock with fellow Italian Marco Pinotti (HTC-HighRoad) in third as Gesink claimed his second stage win in as many days.

Organizers did not permit riders to use time-trial-specific equipment in an effort to minimize the costs associated with shipping extra bikes to Oman for a single, short time trial stage.

World time trial champion Fabian Cancellara (Leopard-Trek) said he was fairly content with his fourth-place finish, 27 seconds behind Gesink.

“With two long and steep climbs, this course didn’t really suit a time trial specialist,” Cancellara said. “It sure didn’t suit me … it was really a climber’s course.”

Winner of Friday’s hilly fourth stage, Gesink consolidated his hold on the leader’s jersey. He now enjoys an advantage of 1:13 over second-placed Edvald Boasson Hagen in the overall standings.

“Winning a time trial comes as something of a shock to me,” said Gesink. “I’ve been working on my time trialing. I am making progress, but I am by no means a specialist.

“Halfway through, (Rabobank director) Nico Verhoeven told me that I had the best time split at that point,” Gesink said. “My legs hurt terribly, but that news and the fact that I had the jersey gave me wings over the second half.”

The sixth and final stage on Sunday will take the peloton over a distance of 157km between Qurayyat and Mattrah Seafront.

Stage 5

  • 1. Robert Gesink, Rabobank, 18.5km in 29:20
  • 2. Giovanni Visconti, Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli, in 29:36
  • 3. Marco Pinotti, HTC-HighRoad, in 29:44
  • 4. Fabian Cancellara, Leopard-Trek, in 29:47
  • 5. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sky, in 29:49

Full Results

Overall Standings

  • 1. Robert Gesink, Rabobank, in 16:44:38
  • 2. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sky, at 1:13
  • 3. Giovanni Visconti, Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli, at 1:19
  • 4. Michael Albasini, HTC-Highroad, at 1:52
  • 5. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Cervelo, at 2:04

Full Results