Muscat: Showing great speed and overcoming stiff challenge, Astana’s Magnus Cort Nielsen took the top honours in the fourth stage of the Tour of Oman on Friday.
An explosive stage 117.5kms stage between Al Sifah in Yiti to Ministry of Tourism saw all of the sprinters get dropped on the way to the Ministry of Tourism, except for Magnus Cort Nielsen.
The Danish youngster proved that he is more than just a fastman as he hung on in a 25-man front group before claiming victory ahead of Giovanni Visconti of Bahrain-Merida and Alberto Bettiol of BMC Racing Team.
Greg Van Avermaet of BMC finished 4th to retain the leader’s red jersey on the eve of Jabal Al Akhdhar stage.
With only 117.5km ahead, the battle for the break was a hard one.
Loic Chetout of Cofidis, Solutions Credits attacked as soon as the flag dropped.
But it took him 5kms to get away with Jacques Janse Van Rensburg of Dimension Data, Remi Cavagna of Quick-Step Floors, Casper Pedersen of Aqua Blue Sport, Pieter Weening of Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij and Jon Irisarri of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.
BMC Racing Team controlled the gap under three minutes and the attackers’ lead was already down to one minute when they tackled the main challenges of the days, with three ascents of the climb of Al Jabal Street between Bausher and Al Amerat in the final 50km of the stage.
Peter Stetina of Trek-Segafredo attacked in the penultimate ascent and rode away with Jacques Janse Van Rensburg of Dimension Data while Katusha-Alpecin were driving the peloton.
Peter Stetina eventually went solo with 18km to go. He was then enjoying a 35” lead but a fierce battle in the last climb ended his move.
Vincenzo Nibali of Bahrain-Merida was the first to go, before his teammate Gorka Izagirre tried to get away.
But BMC Racing Team and Astana controlled a reduced pack in the last 13.5km. And Magnus Cort Nielsen proved to be the fastest in order to claim his first victory with his new team.
Saturday’s fifth stage see the peloton cover a distance of 152 kms between Samayil and Jabal Al Akhdhar.
The 2018 race will conclude with the 135.5km sixth stage between Almouj Muscat and Muttrah Corniche.
1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana) 02h57’36’’
2. Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain- Merida) 02h57’36’’
3. Alberto Bettiol (BMC) 02h57’36’’
1. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) 15h54’22’’
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) 15h54’29’’
3. Nathan Haas (Team Katusha Alpecin) 15h54’33’’