Froome, Master of the Green Mountain

Stage summary22.02.2014Stage 5- BidBid / Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountain)

Jabal Al Akhdhar, also known as the Green Mountain has a new master. In impressive fashion, Christopher Froome proved he was the master of the Tour of Oman, establishing a new record on the climb (18'33). The title holder and 2013 Tour de France winner powered away from the favourite's group with two kilometres to go. He went on to conquer his first stage win of this edition, his second in Oman. Beating Van Garderen and Uran to the line, Froome becomes the new overall leader of the event with just a stage to go.

It was said to be the decisive stage of this 5th edition of the Tour of Oman. The 147.5 kms from Bidbid to Jabal Al Akhdar were indeed at the height of expectations. The 141 remaining riders took off under a bright sun and warm temperatures just before noon, under the eyes of Oman's national football coach, Frenchman Paul Le Guen. After just 3 kilometres, John Murphy (UHC) was the first to break away. The American was soon to be caught by three other men at km 7: Sprengers, Van Hecke (both TSV) and Canola (BAR). The leading four rapidly saw their advantage grow. At the first intermediate sprint (km 50), won by Van Hecke in front of Sprengers and Murphy, they could enjoy a 4' lead. The gap would actually reach a maximum 4'15 at km 56, before teams Katusha and Cannondale took on the chase.

With 25 kms to go, the gap had dropped down to 2'55. While the riders from SKY and OPQS moved up to the front of the pack, the escapees reached the second bonus sprint (km 136), won by Van Hecke ahead of Canola and Murphy, with a 54” lead. While Van Hecke, Sprengers and Murphy were caught by the pack, Canola carried on alone, but his solo effort proved to be vain, as the pack caught him up and took on the climb up Jabal Al Akhdhar at km 140.

On the extremely tough first kilometres of the climb, Green Jersey, André Greipel was among the first to be dropped. Moments later it was Red Jersey, Peter Sagan's turn to stuggle. With 3 kms to go, the likes of Nibali (winner at the Green Mountain in 2012), Franck and Andy Schleck (TFR), failed to keep up with the best. A group of 14 men gathered together at the front, including Froome (SKY) and three of his team mates, Rodriguez, Moreno (both KAT), Van Garderen (BMC), Uran (OPQ), Pozzovivo, Bardet (both ALM), Kreuziger (TCS) and Jeannesson (FDJ). After Sergio Henao (SKY) took off with just over 2kms to go, it was then Froome's turn to power away. The Brit caught up the front man and carried on alone. With just a kilometre to go, Froome had a 12” lead over Uran and Van Garderen, 33” over Pozzovivo and Rodriguez and 1'15 over a group including Nibali (AST).

The 2013 Tour of Oman winner eventually crossed the finish line with a 22” advantage over Van Garderen and 33” over Uran. Froome clocked a record breaking time of 18'33 on the climb, beating the previous record established by Rodriguez last year (19'14). Thanks to his success, the Sky rider captures to overall leader's Red Jersey and has a rather comfortable 26” lead over Van Garderen and 31” over Uran, with only one stage to go. The Green Jersey remains on the shoulders of André Greipel while Frenchman Romain Bardet (ALM), 8th of the stage, captures the White Jersey for the best young rider. Once again present in the day's long breakaway, Preben Van Hecke takes command of the Most Aggressive rider's classification.

Stage 5 BidBid / Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountain)

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 6

Classifications after the stage 6

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