Tour of Oman – Overall for Valls, Stage to Brandle


Double Tour of Britain stage winner Matthias Brandle wins the final stage in Oman, Rafael Valls wins the overall

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Tour of Oman – Overall for Valls, Stage to Brandle

ASO PRESS RELEASE | Photos: ©Muscat Municipality/Paumer/B.Bade

The wind was still strong but the weather conditions were far cooler for day 6 of the Tour of Oman. The 138 remaining riders gathered in front of the Oman Air headquarters for the start of the final stage of the event.


Carrying the overall leader’s Red Jersey, Rafael Valls (LAM) knew that the race was far from won. The Spaniard could indeed only enjoy a slim 9” advantage over his closest rival Tejay van Garderen (BMC) before a final demanding 133.5-km ride towards the Matrah Corniche, including two hard climbs.

The peloton took off at 10:52 and after 7 kilometres, four men managed to break away: Pate (SKY), Keisse (EQS), Brandle (IAM) and the most aggressive rider of the event, Van Meirhaeghe (TSV), present in every single breakaway since the start of the race last Tuesday.

A fifth man, Jelle Wallays (TSV) tried his luck to catch the front group but after moving within 10” of the escapees, he struggled and was eventually caught by the pack at km 20 while the leaders could enjoy a 3’15 advantage. The gap carried on increasing and reached a maximum 9’20 at km 55 before several teams (BMC, Cofidis, Movistar) really started chasing.

At the top of the first climb of the day (Al Hamriyah, km 89), won by Van Meirhaeghe ahead of Pate and Brandle, the pack remained 6’40 adrift. While several riders including Green jersey Andrea Guardini (AST) were dropped, the peloton broke up into several groups with the overall leader and the main favourites in the first bunch. The pack bunched up again before the first sprint (km 102.5) claimed by Van Meirhaeghe.

At the top of the second climb (Al Jissah, km 106), the gap between the front group led by Keisse and the pack was of 5’20. The front four reached the final cicrcuit still enjoying a a 4’30 break.

At the second bonus sprint (1st crossing of the line at km 119), won by Pate ahead of Van Meirhaeghe and Keisse, the pack was still 3’20 behind with two laps to go. It was looking good for the escapees as they took on the final lap with a 2’15 lead.

In the last climb of the day with 3kms to go, Matthias Brandle made his effort and took off. The Austrian managed to hang on to the lead all the way to the finish, winning this final stage with a 4” advantage of Iljo Keisse and 13” over Van Meirhaeghe.

The former hour record holder conquers his first ever stage success in Oman. The pack led by Peter Sagan reached the line 1’16 adrift. Finishing in the pack, Rafael Valls wins this 6th edition of the Tour of Oman.

The Spaniard who had won stage 4 at Green Mountain follows in the foosteps of riders such as Cancellara or Froome and claims his second professional win after a stage success at the 2012 Tour of San Luis in Argentina. The points classification is finally won by Andrea Guardini while Louis Meintjes (MTN) finishes best young rider. Jef Van Meirhaeghe wins the most aggressive rider jersey.


Tour of Britain stage winner & Former Hour Record Holder
Matthias Brandle said afterwards “It’s always a great feeling to be able to raise your arms on the line in victory. I had staked everything on the final and I remained quiet on the final climb with 25 kilometers to go since I could see the guys were still pushing the pedals”.

“With three kilometers to go, I started to give it my all. Today it worked well and all the guys in the break rode equally hard to make the difference. Personally, I wanted to get a stage victory either at Qatar or Oman, so I just managed to reach my goal on the final day. I felt good and I hope it will last the rest of my program which includes Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Tirreno-Adriatico.”

Iljo Keisse said of his second place, “We started with the headwind and at the beginning I could count on the help of Stijn to take the breakaway,” Keisse said. “Then we went in four and we took 10′. We had a good collaboration, then all day we had sidewind and tail wind, so we went pretty fast. In the final there were some climbs, but with the advantage we had, we knew that we would have gone for the victory”.

“On the last small climb at more or less 3.5 kms to go Brandle went. I had a small mooment of difficulty and he took a good advantage. I tried to come back in the final, but I couldn’t clsoe the gap. I knew Brandle was the most dangerous guy. He is a strong guy and broke the hour record a few months ago. But there was nothing more I could have done on the climb to stay with him”.

“I gave it all. It’s a pity because these kind of situations don’t happen a lot for me during a season, so when the occasion is there you have to take it. In any case I want to see the glass as half full. I go back home in good condition, ready and motivated for the next European races.”

Rafael Valls  – The overall winner of the race had this to say “This victory makes me so happy, I want to share my joy with my team mates and with the team’s staff members: I received from them a huge support – Valls explained – Today stage put pressure on our team, but the things went in the best way for us: the four attackers were far from the head of the classification and they prevented my direct opponents to obtain seconds on bonus.”

In the final part of the stage, the strong head wind helped us to neutralize the attacks. I’m glad I can give to my team and to the sponsors the victory of the Tour de Oman“.

1. Matthias Brändle, IAM Cycling 3:02:31
2. Iljo Keisse, Etixx-Quick Step 0:00:04
3. Jef Van Meirhaeghe, Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:00:13
4. Danny Pate, Team Sky 0:00:16
5. Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:16
6. Ramon Sinkeldam, Team Giant-Alpecin
7. Nacer Bouhanni, Cofidis, Solutions Credits
8. Alexander Kristoff,Team Katusha
9. Alexey Lutsenko, Astana Pro Team
10. Sam Bennett, Bora-Argon 18

43. Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Bora-Argon 18
90. Adam Blythe (Gbr) Orica GreenEdge 0:01:54

1. Rafael Valls Ferri, Lampre – Merida 21:09:31
2. Tejay van Garderen, BMC Racing Team 0:00:09
3. Alejandro Valverde, Movistar Team 0:00:19
4. Rafal Majka, Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:32
5. Jacques Janse Van Rensburg, MTN-Qhubeka 0:01:04
6. Louis Meintjes, MTN-Qhubeka 0:01:08
7. Jakob Fuglsang, Astana Pro Team 0:01:10
8. Ben Hermans, BMC Racing Team 0:01:15
9. Julian Arredondo Moreno, Trek Factory Racing 0:01:25
10. Patrick Konrad, Bora-Argon 18 0:01:36

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