Tour of Oman: Froome takes stage and Leader’s Jersey


Defending champion in the Tour of Oman Chris Froome applies the pressure and rides clear of his rivals to win the stage and take the leader’s jersey

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Froome takes stage and Leader’s Jersey

With a summit finish on Green Mountain – the highest point in the Tour of Oman, the 5th stage of the race was to be the decisive stage for the riders chasing the overall classification.

Jabal Al Akhdhar, also known as the Green Mountain, has a new master. In impressive fashion, Christopher Froome proved he was the master of the Tour of Oman, establishing a new record on the climb (18’33). The title holder and 2013 Tour de France winner powered away from the favourite’s group with 1.5 kilometres to go.


Photo: ©ASO/B. Bade

He went on to conquer his first stage win of this edition, his second in Oman. Beating Van Garderen and Uran to the line, Froome becomes the new overall leader of the event with just a stage to go.

It was said to be the decisive stage of this fifth edition of the Tour of Oman. The 147.5 kms from Bidbid to Jabal Al Akhdar were indeed proved to be decisive. The 141 remaining riders took off under a bright sun and warm temperatures just before noon, under the eyes of Oman’s national football coach, Frenchman Paul Le Guen.

After just 3 kilometres, John Murphy (UHC) was the first to break away. The American was soon to be caught by three other men at km 7: Sprengers, Van Hecke (both TSV) and Canola (BAR). The leading four rapidly saw their advantage grow. At the first intermediate sprint (km 50), won by Van Hecke in front of Sprengers and Murphy, they could enjoy a 4’ lead. The gap would actually reach a maximum 4’15 at km 56, before teams Katusha and Cannondale took on the chase.

With 25 kms to go, the gap had dropped down to 2’55. While the riders from SKY and OPQS moved up to the front of the peloton, the escapees reached the second bonus sprint (km 136), won by Van Hecke ahead of Canola and Murphy, with a 54” lead. While Van Hecke, Sprengers and Murphy were caught by the peloton, Canola carried on alone, but his solo effort proved to be vain, as the bunch caught him and took on the climb up Jabal Al Akhdhar at km 140.

[pullquote]It feels absolutely fantastic getting that win today, especially with it being my first race of the season. Coming into the race, I wasn’t sure exactly where my form was but this has proved I’m where I need to be right now.[/pullquote]

On the extremely tough first kilometres of the climb, Green Jersey, André Greipel was among the first to be dropped. Moments later it was Red Jersey, Peter Sagan’s turn to stuggle. With 3 kms to go, the likes of Nibali (winner at the Green Mountain in 2012), Frank and Andy Schleck (TFR), failed to keep up with the best. A group of 14 men gathered together at the front, including Froome (SKY) and three of his team mates, Rodriguez, Moreno (both KAT), Van Garderen (BMC), Uran (OPQ), Pozzovivo, Bardet (both ALM), Kreuziger (TCS) and Jeannesson (FDJ).

After Sergio Henao (SKY) took off with just over 2kms to go, it was then Froome’s turn to power away. The Brit caught up the front man and carried on alone. With just a kilometre to go, Froome had a 12” lead over Uran and Van Garderen, 33” over Pozzovivo and Rodriguez and 1’15 over a group including Nibali (AST).

The 2013 Tour of Oman winner eventually crossed the finish line with a 22” advantage over Van Garderen and 33” over Uran. Froome clocked a record breaking time of 18’33 on the climb, beating the previous record established by Rodriguez last year (19’14). Thanks to his success, the Sky rider captures to overall leader’s Red Jersey and has a rather comfortable 26” lead over Van Garderen and 31” over Uran, with only one stage to go. The Green Jersey remains on the shoulders of André Greipel while Frenchman Romain Bardet (ALM), 8th of the stage, captures the White Jersey for the best young rider. Once again present in the day’s long breakaway, Preben Van Hecke takes command of the Most Aggressive rider’s classification.


Talking about the stage, Froome says on his team’s website, “It feels absolutely fantastic getting that win today, especially with it being my first race of the season. Coming into the race, I wasn’t sure exactly where my form was but this has proved I’m where I need to be right now.”

“I know I say it a lot but the team were phenomenal today. Danny [Pate] and Ben [Swift] set a really good pace up to the base of the climb, and then once we hit it, we set up the train to perfection. David [Lopez] did a massive pull on the first really steep section which did a lot of damage, and when he pulled over Mikel [Nieve] carried on where he’d left off.”

“That set Sergio [Henao] up for a pre-planned attack with about 2km to go when the climb ramped up again, and that meant I could sit on the wheels and conserve my energy. Robert Gesink and Tejay [van Garderen] were forced to go after him, and the second they’d made the catch, I made my move with about 1.5km to go.”

“I could see Rigo chasing me for a while, and obviously Tejay again, and they both deserve respect for that, but I was pleased with the amount of time I was able to put into them. I’m really, really happy to be back in the leader’s jersey. We came into this race with much less stress than previously, and no massive expectations, but to be able to do what we’ve done here today is fantastic and it all bodes well for the season to come.”

Van Garderen Runner-Up for BMC

Tejay van Garderen of the BMC Racing Team climbed his way into second overall Saturday at the Tour of Oman with a runner-up performance to Chris Froome (Team Sky) on the finish at Green Mountain. Van Garderen said he remained patient after an attack by Froome’s teammate, Sergio Henao, with 2.5 kilometers to go, and another by Robert Gesink (Belkin Pro Cycling), in an unsuccessful attempt to close the gap.

“Everyone looked pretty tired, so I countered Gesink,” van Garderen said. “My thoughts were, if I could get away clean up to Henao, that Froome would maybe be kind of flicked because he wouldn’t be able to chase down his teammate. He would be stuck there tactically. But he was able to jump straight away onto my wheel”.

“So it was me, Froome and Rigoberto Uran closing down on Henao.” When van Garderen pulled even with Henao, Froome countered. “That was the last we saw of him,” van Garderen said of last year’s Tour de France winner. “I just made a tempo up to the top. I didn’t even try to follow. I thought if I tried to follow, I might blow up.”

4th for Joaquim Rodriguez
“The final climb was very hard but of course we knew it would be,” said Rodriguez, winner of the same stage in the 2013 Tour of Oman. “I felt good during the stage, but I am not yet in ideal shape. I want to thank the team for a really great job today, both during the stage and on the climb. The guys were absolutely perfect.”

Near the 2 km to go mark the day’s decisive action played out on the road with an attack by 2013 Tour de France winner Christopher Froome (Sky). “I saw Froome attack. Van Garderen and Uran followed him and I followed them. I tried to catch them and at least I was close.”

“In the last 500 meters I gave my all, 100% of me. I almost caught Uran and finished 4th. I am pretty satisfied. It was a hard but very good test for me. I did my best for this time of the season but I feel I am on the right track,” Rodriguez concluded.”

The 2014 Tour of Oman ends on Sunday with a 146.5km stage beginning in As Sifah and ending in Matrah Corniche.

1 FROOME Christopher Team Sky 03:49:53
2 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC Racing Team 00:22
3 URAN Rigoberto Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:33
4 RODRIGUEZ Joaquim Team Katusha 00:38
5 GESINK Robert Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 00:47
6 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R La Mondiale 00:51
7 JEANNESSON Arnold 00:56
8 BARDET Romain AG2R La Mondiale 00:59
9 HENAO MONTOYA Sergio Luis Team Sky 01:09
10 KREUZIGER Roman Tinkoff-Saxo 01:15

16 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 01:45
17 DE LA CRUZ MELGAREJO David Team NetApp – Endura
23 KöNIG Leopold Team NetApp – Endura 02:05
27 MEYER Cameron Orica GreenEDGE 02:14
28 SCHLECK Fränk Trek Factory Racing 02:19
32 VELITS Peter BMC Racing Team 02:41
33 CANCELLARA Fabian Trek Factory Racing 02:49
34 SCHLECK Andy Trek Factory Racing
46 STYBAR Zdenek Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 04:05
69 ROCHE Nicolas Tinkoff-Saxo 05:48
77 SAGAN Peter Cannondale 7.22
79 BOONEN Tom Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
94 DEMPSTER Zakkari Team NetApp – Endura 07:46
95 GILBERT Philippe BMC Racing Team 07:48
97 GREIPEL André Lotto Belisol 07:54
98 SWIFT Ben Team Sky
113 BOOM Lars Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 08:53
140 BENNETT Sam Team NetApp – Endura 14:43

1 FROOME Christopher Team Sky 18:36:45
2 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC Racing Team 00:26
3 URAN Rigoberto Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 00:31
4 RODRIGUEZ Joaquim Team Katusha 00:48
5 GESINK Robert Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 00:57
6 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R La Mondiale 01:01
7 HENAO MONTOYA Sergio Luis Team Sky 01:19
8 KREUZIGER Roman Tinkoff-Saxo 01:25
9 TSCHOPP Johann IAM Cycling 01:32
10 MORENO Daniel Team Katusha 01:34
11 JEANNESSON Arnold 01:50
12 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team 01:51
13 BARDET Romain AG2R La Mondiale 01:53
14 IMPEY Daryl Orica GreenEDGE 01:58
15 LöFKVIST Thomas IAM Cycling
16 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen Lotto Belisol
17 KöNIG Leopold Team NetApp – Endura 02:15
18 SANTAROMITA Ivan Orica GreenEDGE 02:21
19 SCHLECK Fränk Trek Factory Racing 02:29
20 MEYER Cameron Orica GreenEDGE 02:30


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