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Alexander Kristoff dashed to victory in the opening stage at the Tour of Oman Tuesday, his fifth career win at the Middle Eastern race.
The Katusha – Alpecin rider edged out Kristian Sbaragli of Dimension Data and Bahrain – Merida’s Sonny Colbrelli at the end of the 177-kilometer stage from Al Sawadi Beach to Naseem Park.
With time bonuses, Kristoff now leads Sbaragli and Aimé De Gendt (Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise) by 4 seconds in the general classification.
Stage 1, top 10
- 1. Alexander KRISTOFF, TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN, in 3:46:29
- 2. Kristian SBARAGLI, TEAM DIMENSION DATA, at :00
- 3. Sonny COLBRELLI, BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at :00
- 4. Lasse Norman HANSEN, AQUA BLUE SPORT, at :00
- 5. Lucas Sebastian HAEDO, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM, at :00
- 6. Jakub MARECZKO, WILIER TRIESTINA, at :00
- 7. Roy JANS, WB VERANCLASSIC AQUALITY PROTECT, at :00
- 8. Benjamin GIRAUD, DELKO MARSEILLE PROVENCE KTM, at :00
- 9. Sacha MODOLO, UAE ABU DHABI, at :00
- 10. Manuel BELLETTI, WILIER TRIESTINA, at :00
Kristoff credited his teammates for successfully guiding him to the finish line.
“Our team did an amazing job. In the end they all contributed for the leadout,” he said. “We knew the finish from last year and knew that we had to come to the front a little bit late, especially because of the straight road and the headwind.
“We waited in the bunch quite a long time. Just in the end, with 300 meters to go, we hit the front. It was still tough with the headwind, but our leadout was perfect. Marco Haller and Michael Morkov were the last guys to bring me to the ideal position but also Nils Politt helped a lot. I am proud of this team.”
An escape group of five riders got away a handful of kilometers into the stage, and the peloton was content to let them ride ahead of the main pack. Late in the stage, the peloton decided it was time to reel them in.
Katusha and Quick-Step Floors, which helped make sure the break didn’t get too far ahead, helped bring the five riders back. With 10km remaining in the stage, the break was over and the sprinters’ teams were preparing to lead out their fast men.
“This is a great feeling. I hope we can continue this way,” Kristoff said.
The six-day Tour of Oman picks up Wednesday with stage 2, a 146km route from Nakhal to Al Bustan that contains four climbs — including one that peaks with about 5km to go.