On a fairly calm day that ended in a bunched sprint, Marcel Kittel powered to stage victory, showing what a promising rider he is. The German beat Greipel and Bouhanni to the line. The overall leader’s Red Jersey returns to another German, André Greipel.
Splendid weather conditions as well as more of the Sultanate’s outstanding landscapes welcomed the 127 riders of the Tour of Oman at the start of stage 3, south-west of Muscat, at Al Awabi. The pack took off at midday through canyons, river beds and palm trees for a 144.5km race back to the capital Muscat. Speeding past apricot and peach plantations, four men managed to take off on a break at only 3 kilometres from the start line: Isaychev (KAT), Hulsmans (FAR), Clarke (CSS) and Lemair (BGT). Their lead grew rapidly to 2’15 at km 7.5 and reached a maximum 3’45 at km 25.
At the first intermediate sprint (km 42.5) just before the historical 17th century Nakhal Fort, maximum points were claimed by Isaychev ahead of Lemair and Hulsmans and the gap had dropped down to 3’15. Like on the previous day the sprinters’ teams remained within shooting distance of the escapees, never getting to close but however not letting the gap go up too much. At the second bonus sprint (km 83.5) at Barka, won again by Isaychev in front of Clarke and Lemair, the pack remained 3’10 adrift.
Leaving the dramatic Jebel Akdhar Mountains behind them for the speed of the new Muscat Expressway, the leading four could still count on a 1’10 advantage with only 20kms to go, but they were to be caught with four kilometres remaining. Like on day one, the stage ended in a bunched sprint. Already a winner on European soil this winter, Marcel Kittel captured stage victory, beating Greipel and Bouhanni. The overall leader’s Red jersey changes shoulders again and returns to those of Germany’s Greipel. Peter Sagan keeps the White jersey for the best young rider. The fighting-spirit jersey returns on the shoulders of Frenchman Lemair.