There’s not much one can do against Peter Sagan when it comes to hilly finishes. Like yesterday, the powerful Slovakian flew to victory at the Wadi Dayqah Dam. He managed to beat Van Avermaet and Gallopin to the line. Sagan comforts his overall lead.
Stage 3: Nakhal Fort – Wadi Dayqah Dam, 190kms
142 riders at the start: Sunny, light wind
A beautiful blue sky, around 25°C and quite a scenery was on the menu for the start of stage 3 at the Tour of Oman, just in front of the splendid Nakhal Fort. The 142 riders took off at 11:16 for the longest stage of the event: 190kms of rifding all the way to the Wadi Dayqah Dam. After just a kilometre, three men managed to breakaway: Delle Stelle (BAR), Jang (CSS) and Hatanaka (JPN). They were soon to be caught by a fourth rider: the holder of the most aggressive rider jersey, Bobbie Traksel (CSS), already in breakaways on the first two days. Their lead grew from 1’ at km 5 to a maximum 9’10 at the first intermediate sprint (km 37) won by Traksel ahead of Delle Stelle and Jang.
From then on, the Cannondale team of Red Jersey Peter Sagan (CAN) took on the chase. After covering 44.6kms during the first hour of racing, the gap dropped down to 7’30 at km 50. Going up the first climb of the day, at Boucher Alamrat, Delle Stelle took off on his own. The Italian reached the top with a 1’10 lead over Traksel, Jang and Hatanaka, and 2’25 over the pack. On the descent Traksel stopped his effort and was caught by the pack at km 100. Shortly later, Delle Stelle was again joined by his former companions as three men led the stage. At km 109, the leading trio could enjoy a 4’10 advantage.
The second bonus sprint (at km 143.5) was claimed by Delle Stelle ahead of Jang and Hatanaka. Shortly after, Jang was forced to stop with cramps. The Korean was eventually caught by the pack at km 149, leaving two men in the lead. After enjoying a 1’55 lead at km 150, Delle Stelle was the first to be caught by the pack at kilometre 172. It was then Hatanaka’s turn to be gobbled up by the hungry peloton at km 172.
The pack remained bunched for the final showdown. With just 7 kms to go, Lancaster (OGE) tried his luck but after enjoying an 8” lead was caught back by a pack led by teams SKY and Cannondale. Heading up to the finish on the last 800m, Sagan took off. He hung on to the lead all the way to the line, beating Van Avermaet (BMC), Gallopin (RLT) and Contador (TST) by one second.
Sagan keeps his overall leader’s Red Jersey with a 16” lead over Gallopin and 26” over Van Avermaet. He also remains the best young rider and now also leads the points’ classification. Traksel keeps the Most Aggressive rider’s jersey.