Stage 1 of the Tour of Oman ended in a bunched sprint. Germany’s André Greipel, a newcomer on the event flew to victory beating Galimzyanov and Farrar to the line. Another big name of cycling is therefore added to the list of prestigious stage winners in Oman. Greipel also captures the overall leader’s Red Jersey.
Beautiful weather conditions welcomed the 127 riders of the 3rd edition of the Tour of Oman. The peloton gathered by the Al Alam Palace for the start of the first of six stages: a 156km ride all the way to Wadi Al Huwqayn on a fairly flat course.
As soon as the first kilometre of riding, four men managed to break away from the pack: Ignatyev (KAT), Wyss (BMC), Jiao (CSS) and Lemair (BGT). The gap rapidly grew from 45" at km 1.5 to a maximum 5’ after 19kms. That was when the sprinters’ teams (SKY, Garmin and Lotto-Belisol) decided to take the chase in hand and the pace went up (45.3kms covered during the first hour). Indeed the gap started dropping down. At the first bonus sprint at Barka (km 74.5), won by Lemair ahead of Wyss and Ignatyev, the gap had dropped down to 3’15.
The escapees managed to hang on together in the lead until the second intermediate sprint (km 128.5) claimed by Ignatyev ahead of Lemair and Wyss, while the pack remained 1’ adrift.. Just after that sprint, Wyss, Lemair and Jiao stopped their efforts and Ignatyev continued on his own. With 20kms to go, the Russian could still enjoy a 1’ advantage. Ignatyev was finally caught by the chasing pack with just under five kilometre to go.
Time had come for a bunched sprint. On the slightly uphill final straight, André Greipel (LT) prooved to be the fastest capturing this first stage of the Tour of Oman. The German beat Galimzyanov (KAT) and Farrar (GRM) and therefore captures the first overall leader’s red jersey of the race. The white jersey for the best young rider goes to Gamimzyanov while Lemair captures the green-red-white fighting spirit jersey.