The Queen stage of the Tour of Oman lived up to its billing as one of the early season’s toughest climbs on a day that eventually saw Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) take line honours.
He was followed home by teammate Alexey Lutsenko as their teamwork over the final kilometre made the difference on the renowned Green Mountain.
Merhawi Kudus was 12th finishing just under a minute behind the stage winner and he gained one place in the general classification moving up to 9th with one stage to go.
An early break at the three kilometre mark managed to hold for a large portion of the race with it finally being nullified with just three kilometres to go. A significant effort in tough, hot conditions that set up the exciting finish.
That result sees Lutsenko take over the race leader’s jersey while Kudus is currently 3rd in the young rider’s category.
JP Heynderickx – Sporting Director
“Our goal for today was for go a victory for Merhawi Kudus. Straight from the start a 6 rider breakaway formed but Astana, in particular controlled the gap. With 50 km the gap went up to 5min 50s and and our own Nicholas Dlamini started pulling too.
At the start of Green Mountain the gap was at 1m 30s and Astana started their attack, Kudus also made his move but just wasn’t able to keep with the pace. The rest of the boys did a good job to keep Merhawi in position so I’m pleased.”