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AL BUSTAN, Oman (AFP) — André Greipel took over the lead in the Tour of Oman after the Lotto-Belisol rider claimed Thursday’s third stage, a 145-kilometer ride from Muscat to Al Bustan.
Greipel got the better of Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Nacer Bouhanni (Europcar) in a sprint finish. Already a winner of Tuesday’s first stage, Greipel pried the leader’s red jersey from Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge).
“André rode a really incredible stage,” the stage winner’s teammate Jurgen Roelandts said. “To follow like he did the climbers in the last two sections proves his legs are incredible.”
Greipel’s fifth win of the season pushed him to an eight-second lead over Howard, with stage 2 winner Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) in third, a further two seconds adrift.
“It might have looked easy, but today was far from that,” Greipel said.
Sagan, favorite to take the stage, lost out by the length of two bikes on the line.
“This second place shows that I’m in form, too,” said Sagan.
As had been the case on the first two days, Thursday’s action featured a long breakaway, but the three-man escape was duly swept up by the peloton, which included last year’s winner, Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Sky).
Friday’s fourth stage takes the riders on a 173km route from Wadi Al Abiyad to Muscat.