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Tour of Oman: Fernando Gaviria outkicks Mark Cavendish in opening stage sprint

Colombian speedster tops bunch sprint in Muscat as Kaden Groves claims third.

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Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) outkicked Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) for the win at the Tour of Oman.

Kaden Groves (BikeExchang0-Jayco) finished third in the Muscat bunch kick Thursday.

“Before the race, I said I wanted to win some stages. There was a lot of pressure for me in my mind because I wanted to win. Last week in the Saudi Tour I saw I can and here I’m really happy to take the first victory,” Gaviria said.

Gaviria, 27, had come close through the sprint stages of the Saudi Tour last week, scoring three top-6s but never hitting the top spot.

Thursday’s 138km opener out of Al Rustaq Fort saw Gaviria finally open his account for the season after being delivered to the line by a sizzling leadout from veteran sidekick Max Richeze, who was saved from an early retirement this winter. The Argentinian domestique was out of contract but was called back into action by UAE Team Emirates after Alvaro Hodeg was ruled out of the early season with an injury.

“My team did work real nice,” Gaviria said. “Max [Richeze] made a big difference in the lead out and then I’m really happy it worked like this.”

A bunch of three had got away early in the race, but the largely flat parcours and a stack of sprinter teams meant their chances were limited.

DSM was active on the front for much of the day, forcing the pace and splitting the bunch mid-stage before BikeExchange and Quick-Step pulled the peloton back to one.

DSM and Quick-Step led the fast charging bunch into the final 10km, swallowing up the final escapee Peio Goiogana Goikoetxea (Euskaltel Euskadi) at around 9km to go before Søren Kragh Andersen (DSM) rolled the dice with his dash off the front. The Dane was reeled in at around 5km to go before Richeze and Gaviria worked the magic that has seen them score so many times before.

The six-stage race continues with another sprint stage Friday – will Cavendish blast back?

“Coming into the first race of a new season, you are never sure about form and it was good to get the feeling of racing back in my legs,” Cavendish said. “I am confident that I have some good form and we have a group that have not raced together, so we will look to build on it in the coming days.”

This report is being updated. Check back soon!

2022 Tour of Oman Stage 1 Results:

1 Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates): 03:17:04
2 Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): at s.t.
3 Kaden Groves (BikeExchange-Jayco): at s.t.