Muscat: Young American Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) saw off the challenge of the chasing pack with a powerful uphill sprint at Jabal Haat to claim victory and the overall lead in this year’s Tour of Oman.
The 23-year-old climber made the most of the steepest sections leading to an unprecedented finish in Al Hamra to edge out another young rising talent, Belgium’s Mauri Vansevenant (Soudal Quick-Step), and France’s Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën).
Heading into the stage, it always seemed likely that the race would be decided by the 4.6km haul to the finish, and so it proved. Jorgenson was the first to gain any meaningful traction on an acceleration, but he was unable to open a gap – although it did break up the front group, with yesterday’s winner Jesus Herrada left behind.
With 300 metres to go, Jorgenson timed his sprint for the line perfectly and this turn of pace secured victory. Vansevenant had to settle for second and Bouchard for third.
Jorgenson said, “It is a super special moment, it really is. A huge moment, a relief. Those things start to cross your mind; maybe I am not the type of ride that can win, but today I proved that to myself. It was mostly about legs; that climb was steep at moments, and I wanted to test everyone. It took a second or so for the others to get back to me so I knew I had the legs. We made it to the sprint, and I didn’t look back. The team did well, we stayed in front all day. All in all, just a really nice day!”
Stage 3 pushed the riders to their limits with a series of climbs and descents starting from Al Khobar and twisting through the foothills of Jabal Al Akhdar past the towns of Samail, Izki and the outskirts of Nizwa before ending in Jabal Haat just outside Al Hamra – a total distance of 151.8km.
Matteo Jorgenson’s amazing performance earned him the Individual time and points awards, as well as ‘Best Young Rider’ to go with his first placed finish. Dutchman Jeroen Meijers (Terengganu Polygon Cycling Team) won ‘Most Active Rider’ for the third day in succession.
Meijers said, “Our main tactic is to get me in the breakaway, and it is then up to me to beat the others in the sprints. The Tour is very well organised, the roads are excellent, and we are very happy to be here. This is the first time the team has competed in Oman. It is very hot when you’re riding with no shade, and tomorrow I will try to save my energy over the long distance and aim to finish strongly.”
Stage 4 on Tuesday 14 February kicks off close to Sunday’s finishing line in Izki, heading towards Al Jarda and through the Al Hajar Mountains to Bidbid and Fanja.
The cyclists will enter Muscat close to Sultan Qaboos University and travel through Al Mawaleh and Bousher to Al Wattayah and the hills of Al Jissah. After a series of turns around Qantab and Yeti, the riders will race for the line at Yitti Hills. Monday’s penultimate stage is the longest of the entire Tour of Oman 2023, a total of 204.9km.