Greipel triumphs despite scare

Stage summary18.02.2014Stage 1- As Suwayq Castle / Naseem Garden

Already a two-time winner on the Tour of Oman last year, André Greipel claimed stage 1 of the 2014 edition after a bunched sprint. The German champion did however have quite a scare when he found himself trapped in a dropped group in the last 25 kms of the race. The pack eventually bunched up again, before the 6-time Tour de France stage winner powered to glory, beating Howard and Ruffoni to the line and conquering the overall leader's Red Jersey. 

Wonderful weather conditions welcomed the riders of the Tour of Oman by the splendid As Suwayq Castle by the Sea of Oman, for the start of the first stage of this 5th edition. Feverish in the morning, struggling with flu, Frenchman Thibaut Pinot was sadly forced to retire from the race before even starting. 142 eventually took off for a 164.5-km stage all the way to Naseem Garden.

It only took a few hundred metres to see the first men attack as Van Hecke, Wallays (both TSV), Boem (BAR) and Bazzana (UHC) managed to breakaway from the pack. With the bunch not too concerned by the escapees, the gap grew rapidly reaching 2'15 at km 5 and then a maximum 5'35 at km 15 when the Lotto Belisol team decided to slowly take on the chase. At the top of the first climb of the day (Al Rustaq, km 56.5) claimed by Van Hecke ahead of Boem and Bazzana, the gap had dropped down to 4'05.

At the first intermediate sprint (km 78) won by Boem in front of Van Hecke and Bazzana, the pack remained 3'15 adrift. As teams Orica - Greenedge, FDJ.fr and Omega Pharma – Quickstep helped out in the chase the front men were caught at km 142. After a right turn, the pack, under the influence of the crosswind, broke up into several groups. Trapped behind were the likes of André Greipel (LTB) and Joaquin Rodrigues (KAT). The second bonus sprint (km 148) was claimed by Terpstra (OPQ) ahead of Van Hecke and Devolder (TFR) while the dropped group was 20” behind.

Thankfully for the 30 riders behind, the pack slowed down and bunched up together again with ten kilometres to go. Time had therefore come for a massive sprint on the long straight by Naseem Garden. Already a winner of two stages last year in Oman, André Greipel powered again to glory. The German National champion and winner of 6 stages on the Tour de France beat Leigh Howard (OGE) and Nicola Ruffoni (BAR) to the line. Greipel who has already triumphed at the Tour Down Under (two stages) and the Tour of Qatar adds a fourth success to his 2014 victory list.

Added to his stage success, the sprinter from Lotto – Belisol conquers the overall leader's Red Jersey. He also takes command of the points' classification (Silver Jersey) while Howard becomes best young rider of the event (White jersey). Part of the long break of the day and thanks to the precious points he collected at the sprints and on the climb, Preben Van Hecke captures the most-aggressive rider's jersey (White with green and red dots).

Stage 1 As Suwayq Castle / Naseem Garden

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 6

Classifications after the stage 6

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