The 3rd stage of the Tour of Oman saw a bunch kick decide the stage with the pre stage favourite, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) taking the win ahead of Moreno Hofland (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Roy Jans (Wanty Groupe Gobert).
With the leader’s jersey on the shoulders of our Norwegian Champion, Edvald Boasson Hagen, our African Team took responsibility for today’s proceedings. 5 riders were allowed to go clear in the early stages of the race and our boys would hold the gap at around 3 minutes for the majority of the 176km stage.
With not a single hill of any significance on route today, Kristoff was the favourite for the win. Katusha would begin contributing to the pace making in the peloton from relatively early on and so together with the Russian team, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka slowly wore out the break. Eventually, after some inclement weather, the gap was extinguished with 10km to go and the expected bunch sprint took place.
After a good leadout by his team, it was a relatively straight forward win for Kristoff. Our race leader, Boasson Hagen was kept at the front of the peloton, allowing him to follow some of the faster wheels during the finale. On the line Boasson Hagen would finish in 10th place. A result good enough to see the Norwegian keep the general classification and points lead while Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka remain on top of the team standings ahead of tomorrow’s decisive stage to Green Mountain.
Serge Pauwels – Rider
Today was a day where we took control to defend Edvals’d jersey, which we were able to accomplish as a team. On paper it didn’t look very difficult but the wind, rain and at times, the hail made it quite tricky and nervous. We can play our cards tomorrow with several riders but we are not the favourites to win. We will give it our best shot on the final climb tomorrow which is very hard and very steep.