The 5th stage of the Tour of Oman would be a real highlight for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka as Edvald Boasson Hagen sprinted to victory after Jacques Janse van Rensburg spent all day in the breakaway. Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) was 2nd on the stage with Marco Canola (United Healthcare) taking 3rd.
The day started according to plan for our African Team as Jacques Janse van Rensburg jumped into the early break of the day with Pieter Weening (Roompot) and Hugo Houle (AG2R La Mondiale). The trio got away inside the opening 10km of the stage and powered ahead to a 6-minute lead.
Janse van Rensburg was clearly the strongest in the break as he took all 4 King of the Mountain primes on offer and his accelerations on the penultimate climb dropped Houle while Weening was also distanced, but would later return on the descent. With our South African climber forcing the pace up front, the peloton had its work cut out to try and reel the escapees back.
Astana and Bora were the two teams having to do all the chasing as Boasson Hagen and the rest of our African Team could conserve energy in the peloton. While the peloton was slowly bringing Janse van Rensburg and Weening back, the effort it required certainly took its toll on the group as a number of riders were getting dropped over the 3 shark tooth climbs of the day. This played perfectly into our hands with Janse van Rensburg up the road and Boasson Hagen now in a reduced group with still a number of teammates to support him.
With 10km to go, the gap to Weening and Janse van Rensburg had dropped to 45 seconds. It would be touch and go for our former South African champion but in the end he came up 2km short of the line. The catch of the break then prompted our African Team to deliver Boasson Hagen to the line and they did this in fine fashion. The Norwegian champion showed the reduced group a clean pair of heels, sprinting to his 2nd victory of the week.
Janse van Rensburg’s fine effort was rewarded with the Combative Jersey on the podium and Boasson Hagen also regained the lead in the Points Jersey competition. With Nathan Haas also finishing 10th on the stage, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka also kept the lead in the Best Team competition.
Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider
It was really good to have Jacques in the break so we didn’t have to chase from behind. He did a really good job up there and we could just focus on sitting up front all day and not use up too much energy, so that was perfect. After the last climb Jacques was caught and we still had guys in the group. So Serge Pauwels, Merhawi Kudus and Nathan were able to do a really good leadout for me in the last kilometer. I just had to open up my sprint with 200m to go so I am really happy to win after all the great team work today.
Jean Pierre Heynderickx – Sport Director
It was a big ride by our team and everything went according to what we put down on paper yesterday. Jacques did a very strong ride and he had to attack to break the group up, so we could drop the fast sprinters before the final. At the end it almost looked like he might even take the victory but they caught him with 2km to go. In the group we still had Merhawi, Serge, Nathan and Edvald. So today after the win we also took the points jersey, aggressive ride jersey and still lead the team competition so it has been a great day.