February 3, 2017
Ben Hermans (BMC) has secured the overall win at the 2017 Tour of Oman, with Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) notching up his third stage victory to take the points jersey.
Hermans claimed the overall victory ahead of Rui Costa and Fabio Aru. It is the biggest win of the young belgian's careerA fantastic achievement by the BMC rider who captures the biggest win of his career an effort that he started building on Stage Two when he conquered the leaders jersey, before confirming his domination of the race with another win at the top of Green Mountain at the end of Stage Five yesterday.
Team KATUSHA ALPECIN leader Alexander Kristoff put the finishing touches to his Tour of Oman, taking a sweetly taken victory in the final stage of the race (The Wave Muscat Matrah Corniche, 130,5 k). Kristoff repeated his 2016 win at the same finish location and increased his tally of Oman stage wins to sevens.
The Norwegian rider took the third win in the 2017 edition of the Tour of Oman and his fourth victory of the season after overtaking Italian Sascha Modolo (UAE Abu Dhabi) and Romanian Michael Eduard Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini) in the final metres.
"It was today one of the windiest days in a long time in Oman and we knew it would be hard to control the race. We were lucky however as also the BMC Team tried to control the race for the GC leader Hermans. At the end they tried to win with the late attack of Greg Van Avermaet. We did not control the whole race but we did our main work in the final. Luckily I had my teammates to support me in the local laps. Especially Marco Haller did an amazing job in the last two kilometers. He brought me in a good position for the sprint. With 150 meters to go I was second and there was a really strong headwind. The last 150 meters felt like 300 meters but in the end I managed to win and I am really happy to win my third stage in the Tour of Oman 2017!said Alexander Kristoff.
Kristoff wins final stage
Before taking on the 6th stage of the Tour of Oman, a 130.5-km ride from The Wave Muscat to the Matrah Corniche, including two short but tough climbs, a question came to mind: would overall leader Ben Hermans (BMC) be challenged by his GC rivals on this last stage? After conquering his second win of this 8th edition at the top of Green Mountain, the Belgian could count on what looked like a decisive lead of 22 over Rui Costa (UAD) and 35 over Fabio Aru (AST). Looking good for his first overall victory on the Tour of Oman, especially surrounded by a very strong BMC squad.
After bidding farewell to the residential area of The Wave Muscat, the 139 remaining riders of the race took off at 11:08. As soon as the first kilometre, three men managed to take off: Keisse (QST), De Gendt (SVB) and Giraud (DMP). Their lead grew from 30 at km 5 to 230 at km 18. It reached a maximum of 250 before dropping as team Aqua Blue started chasing. Indeed, with De Gendt in the front group, the Most Aggressive jersey of Mark Christian (ABS) appeared to be in danger with many points up for grabs. Meanwhile in the pack, just before the first major difficulty, drama struck in the pack as leader Ben Hermans hit the ground. Thankfully without major injuries. On the first climb of the day (Al Hamriyah, km 78.5), Giraud was the first to be dropped. De Gendt made it first to the top collecting three points ahead of Keisse (2pts) and Van Hecke (SVB) on a counter-attack, 6 adrift. Christian who had also broken away from the pack was 25 behind.
The two leaders continued their efforts at the front. At the first intermediate sprint (km 92), claimed by De Gendt in front of Keisse, Van Hecke remained 115 behind and the pack that had caught Christian, 215 adrift. De Gendt also made it first at the top of Al Jissah, virtually capturing the Most Aggressive riders jersey and added an extra 3 points to his tally at the second bonus sprint where the pack, including Van Hecke was 125 behind. With under 10kms to go, Keisse decided to take off on his own. The Belgian could enjoy a 30 lead over the pack that had caught De Gendt, with only one lap to go. Keisse was eventually caught with under 4kms remaining.
On the final climb of the circuit, Romain Bardet (ALM) powered away, taking with him Greg Van Avermaet (BMC). Both men saw their lead grow to a slim 10 with 2kms left. They were finally caught 1 kilometre from the line. Time then came for a bunched sprint with a strong headwind on the final straight. Like on day 1 and stage 4, Alexander Kristoff (KAT) made the best of the work of his Katusha-Alpecin team mates and flew to a third win. The Norwegian crossed the line ahead of Romanian Eduard Grosu (NIP) and Italian Sacha Modolo (UAD) to capture his seventh victory in Oman.
Well protected by his BMC team mates, Ben Hermans made it to the finish among the peloton, winning the general classification of this 8th Tour of Oman. In the final standings, the Belgian wins the race with a 22 lead over Rui Costa and 35 over Fabio Aru. Second of the Vuelta a la Comunitat Valenciana behind Nairo Quintana at the beginning of the month, he confirms his fine start to the 2017 season. Thanks to his days success, Alexander Kristoff wins the green jersey (points classification) and Merhawi Kudus (DDD) finishes best young rider while his Dimension Data squad is the best team of this Tour of Oman. Present at the front, on day 1 and again for over 120kms of the final stage, Aimι De Gendt claims the most agressive riders jersey.
Stage Six Results in Full