Boasson Hagen wins second stage of Tour of Oman

Sports Wednesday 17/February/2016 20:46 PM
By: Times News Service
Boasson Hagen wins second stage of Tour of Oman

Muscat: Six years after winning a stage of the Tour of Oman in Quriyat, Edvald Boasson Hagen triumphed again on Wednesday. This time, however, instead of a flat sprint, the Norwegian made the best of a brand new hilltop finish to beat all the favourites of the race.
Beating Vincenzo Nibali and Greg Van Avermaet to the line, the Norwegian once again proved what great legs he had. Unlucky in Qatar where he should have won the GC if it hadn’t been for an unfortunate puncture, the Dimension Data rider conquered the overall leader’s Red Jersey from stage 1 winner Bob Jungels, dropped in the final climb.
After the thunder storms that struck Oman throughout the night, the beautiful weather had returned for day 2 of the Tour of Oman. A bright sunshine indeed welcomed the riders as they gathered in front of the Omantel Head Office for the start of stage 2. On the day’s menu: 162 kms of riding all the way to Quriyat.
While Bernard Sulzberger (DPC) was forced to quit, 140 riders took off at 11:40 AM. Despite several attempts, the pack remained bunched all the way to km 9 where six men managed to power away: Pierre-Luc Perichon (FVC), Jesper Asselman (ROP), Stijn Steels (TSV) and Alexander Kamp (SSG), as well as Christoph Pfingsten (BOA) and Kenny De Haes (WGG), already present in yesterday’s long breakaway. The front group’s advantage grew rapidly and was of 3’30 at the bottom of the first climb of the day. At the summit of Boucher Al Hamerat (km 33), the leading six, led out by Pfingsten ahead of Steels and Dehaes, could enjoy a maximum gap of 4’15. From then on overall leader Bob Jungels’ Etixx Quick Step team took command of the chase.
At the first intermediate sprint (km 81) won by Kamp in front of Dehaes and Steels, the pack had moved closer: 3’15’’. Seeing the gap drop down, three men from the front group attacked: Périchon, Asselman and Kamp. Their lead over their former breakaway compangnons reached 1’30’’. While the dropped men were eventually caught by the pack at km 111, the leaders could still enjoy an increased 3’40’’ advantage.
At the second bonus sprint (km 139.5), again claimed by Kamp in front of Asselman and Perichon, the pack remained 44’’ adrift. The leaders were eventually caught with 20 kilometres to go. As the riders headed back towards the city of Quriyat enjoying a fairly strong tailwind, team BMC accelerated at the front of the pack and created several echelons. Among the dropped men were the likes of Richie Porte (BMC) and Dan Martin (EQS). With 5 kms to go, the front group of around 50 riders had a 50’’ lead.
The final showdown between the big guns of the race took place on the 3-km climb to the finish. Two kilometres from the line, struggling Red jersey, Bob Jungels (EQS) failed to remain in the front group, loosing all hopes of keeping his overall leadership. A group of nine men battled it out on a final sprint and Edvald Boasson Hagen (DDD) proved to be the fastest. The Norwegian claimed his third stage success in Oman, beating Vincenzo Nibali (AST) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) to the line. It was also the Norwegian’s second victory in Quriyat after triumphing there back in 2010, but at the time, the finish was on a flat straight.
Thanks to his stage win Boasson Hagen takes command of the GC (Red Jersey) and has a 4’’ lead over Nibali and 5’’ over Van Avermaet. Former leader and stage 1 winner, Jungels crossed the lind in 31st position, 59’’ adrift. The Norwegian also leads the points classification (Green jersey) while Patrick Konrad (BOA) claimed the White jersey for the best young rider. Winner of the two intermediate sprints on Wednesday Alexander Kamp captured the Most Aggressive rider’s jersey.