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Tour of Oman stage 4: Fausto Masnada hits out solo for stage win and GC lead

Masnada takes 55-second GC lead after dazzling solo attack Sunday.

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Fausto Masnada (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) scored a sizzling stage win and took the overall lead at the Tour of Oman.

The Italian puncheur hit out off the front of an elite lead group in the final 15km of a chaotic fourth stage and went solo to the line Sunday. Masnada’s teammate Mauro Schmid had been away at the front in the final hour of the race, and was first of the chasers across the line to secure a one-two for Quick-Step.

Kevin Vauquelin (Arkéa Samsic) finished third.

Masnada’s 1:07 winning margin pushes him up to the top of GC, overhauling overnight leader Anton Charmig (Uno-X). The Dane is now 55 seconds back.

Three riders clipped off the front through the lumpy opening to the race before the bunch exploded behind on the first of three ascents of the 4km Bousher al Amerat climb.

DSM drilled the pace into the short hill, catching the escapees and splitting the bunch. Overnight GC-leader Charmig and a stack of Intermarché-Wanty, Quick-Step, and UAE Emirates all made it into the split of around 30 riders.

Schmid and Samuele Zoccarato (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè) attacked out of the shattered peloton over the second Amerat climb as Masnada kept in contention within the constantly reforming chase group.

Vauquelin scrambled across to Schmid on the final climb and then dropped the Swiss on the flat final 15km to the line.

However, Vauquelin was soon reeled in by Masnada and an elite bunch including Charmig, Rui Costa (UAE Emirates), Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty) and young American Kevin Vermaerke (DSM).

Masnada didn’t wait long once he was in position to make a move. The Italian kicked away at around 12km to go and seared clear to secure his first win of the year and the leader’s jersey.

The six-stage race continues Monday with a summit finish on the Jabal Al Akhdhar “Green Mountain” that could be a make-or-break for GC hopes.

Can Masnada maintain in the mountains?

Tour of Oman stage 4:

  1. Fausto Masnada (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): 3:01:53
  2. Mauro Schmid (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): +01:07
  3. Kevin Vauquelin (Arkéa Samsic): S.T

Tour of Oman GC:

  1. Fausto Masnada (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl): 3:01:53
  2. Anthon Charmig (Uno-X): +0:55
  3. Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty): +0.58