Sagan delivers and captures red jersey

Stage summary21.02.2014Stage 4- Wadi Al Abiyad / Ministry of Housing

In the first of two spectacular and decisive stages for overall victory on the Tour of Oman, Peter Sagan proved that he was more than just a rider hungry for stage successes. In a large group including the best riders of the pack, he managed to hang on in the four climbs up Bousher Alamrat. The Slovakian was then part of a decisive move in the last descent alongside Nibali and Uran. Managing to stay clear of the hungry pack, Sagan flew to his first success on this year's edition. Beating Uran and Nibali to the line, he claims his fourth win in Oman and captures the overall leader's Red Jersey.

Wadi Al Abiyad welcomed the riders of Tour of Oman in style. A beautiful scenery for what promised to be a very eventful stage. The 142 riders of the event took off at 11:28 for a 173-km stage all the way to the Ministry of Housing with an extremely demanding last part that would take the pack up the Bousher Alamrat climb four times. After a very fast start, Agnoli, Westra (both AST) and Fischer (FDJ) were the first to break away at km 9 but the pack never let them take off for good and they were caught at km 15. Moments later four men managed to take off: Huffman (AST), Popovych (TFR), Van Avermaet (BMC) and Wallays (TSV). Their lead grew rapidly. At the first intermediate sprint (km 37), won by Wallays ahead of Van Avermaet and Popovych, the leading four had a 7'25 advantage over the pack. That gap reached a maximum 8' at km 51.

The pack led by Lotto-Belisol, Tinkoff-Saxo, BMC and Omega Pharma-Quickstep then started chasing and just before taking on the first of four climbs up Bousher Alamrat, the leaders saw their advantage drop down to 5'50. At the top of the first climb that Wallays reached first ahead of Van Avermaet and Popovych, the group of favourites remained 3'50 adrift. Meanwhile race leader, André Greipel (LTB) and best young rider, Leigh Howard (OGE) were struggling and dropped back.

The second climb which was also a sprint (km 131) was again claimed by Wallays ahead of Van Avermaet and Huffman while the pack was then only 2'25 behind. Eventually Popovych, Huffman and Wallays were caught at the beginning of the third climb. Greg Van Avermaet however carried on alone. The Belgian made it first to the top with an 18” lead over Sergio Henao (SKY) and 32” over the pack led by Nerz (BMC). The front man was finally caught at km 159 by a group of around 60 riders.

All the candidates for overall victory were present at the front for the final climb. Despite quite a few attempts they remained bunched and Christopher Froome (SKY) was the first to reach the top ahead of Kreuziger (TCS) and Uran (OPQ). Like on the previous day, the title holder and 2013 Tour de France winner powered away taking Uran with him. But he was soon to be caught. On the long descent, three other men gave it a go, under ten kilometres from the finish: Nibali (AST), Sagan (CAN) and Uran (OPQ). A fine move that would pay off as they enjoyed an 18” lead with 5kms to go. That advantage dropped down to 6” at the final kilometre mark, but it would be good enough to fight for stage victory. The fastest of the three was, as expected, Peter Sagan. The Slovakian beat Uran and Nibali to the line, claiming his fourth success in Oman (1 stage win in 2012, 2 in 2013).

Thanks to his win, Sagan conquers the overall leader's Red Jersey and has a 10” advantage over Uran and 14” over Nibali. The Cannondale rider also becomes the best young rider while André Greipel, who crossed the line in 103rd position, 21'10 adrift, keeps command of the points' classification (Green Jersey). Present in three out of four breakaways since the start of the event, Jelle Wallays captures the polka-dot jersey for the Most Aggressive rider.

Stage 4 Wadi Al Abiyad / Ministry of Housing

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 6

Classifications after the stage 6

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