Merhawi Kudus led our team home on the final stage of the Tour of Oman finishing 20th and in the process cemented 9th place overall on the general classification.
Alexander Kristoff won the final stage at Matrah Corniche for a third time but it was his first victory for his new team UAE-Team Emirates, with Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept) second and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) was third.
Kudus was followed home by Jacques Janse van Rensburg in 22nd place.
The race almost didn’t play out as expected, as yet again an early break after just 5km which quickly stretched to nearly 5 minutes after 20km, had some thinking that a winner could come from the breakaway. Our team played their part in the peloton controlling the pace as the break never got beyond 4 minutes.
As the race entered the final stages of 3 laps a number of riders looked to bridge the gap but that was short-lived as they were quickly caught by the peloton. With 10km to Rémi Cavagna (Quick-Step Floors) went solo and held onto his advantage until the 3km mark. The frenetic final few kilometres effectively saw the peloton split and did result in the expected bunch-sprint that saw Kristoff cross the line first.
Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) won the race overall with Kudus 9th, while our 24-year-old Eritrean finished 3rd in the young rider’s category.
Merhawi Kudus – Rider
“We had a really good week so thank you to my teammates, I really appreciate it. I was 9th overall on the GC and there was only really one chance to effect the result, yesterday’s Queen stage, where unfortunately I wasn’t good enough to follow the big riders. Thank you again to all my teammates and I’m looking forward to the upcoming races.”
J-P Heynderickx – Sporting Director
“We finished 9th overall with Merhawi but we were expecting better, a podium. Today we went for the win with Mark (Cavendish) but the final was too hard, we tried to move up with 1.5km to go but just wasn’t possible. (Overall) It’s not what we expected from the Tour of Oman.”