A short but sharp 120 kilometres lay ahead of the riders today at the Tour of Oman, with the three ascents of the Bousher Al Amerat climb (four kilometres at six and a half percent), and the circuit that went along with it, dominating the second half of the stage.
It was a steady opening to proceedings as a three rider group escaped early into the stage, building up a two minute lead, with all Team DSM riders biding their time for what was to come. Knowing that if the day was taken at a steady tempo then the stage would likely end up in a reduced bunch sprint, as has happened in the previous editions of the race on this route, the team set out with a plan to make the race as hard as possible and roll the proverbial dice.
Hitting the front en masse on the opening two climbs within the first 40 kilometres, the team quickly pulled back the early breakaway after some strong work, before Marco Brenner made his way into an eight rider group. However, they were soon brought to heel and the siege of attacks continued on the peloton. Eventually the elastic snapped and a fiver rider group forged on with Søren Kragh Andersen and Jonas Iversby Hvideberg making it for the team.
Riding well as group they managed to pull out a one minute gap as they hit the Bousher Al Amerat climb for the first time but the reduced peloton upped the tempo and approaching the second ascent, things were almost all back together as more attacks flew and one rider went solo. The peloton thinned down even more as Kevin Vermaerke attempted to counter and bridge with another rider. Yet on the final ascent an infernal pace was set and he was caught by those charging out of the peloton, but never gave up.
Pushing the pace Henri Vandenabeele went clear in a small GC group and he was soon joined by a fast-descending Vermaerke. However, just before the two Team DSM riders joined forces, Masnada made his stage winning move by going clear on the descent, with a gap quickly opening up. Taking onus in the initial part of the chase both Vandenabeele and Vermaerke pulled hard but both were on their limits after some full gas racing and coupled with some tactical slowing of the chase by Masnada’s teammate, the gap only extended.
Giving it their all to the line, Vermaerke claimed his first .Pro level top five finish with fifth place with Vandenabeele in eighth, while Iversby Hvideverg sprinted out of the group behind to claim tenth on the stage; making it three Team DSM riders in the top ten after the squad rolled the dice and well and truly animated the day.
|1||MASNADA Fausto||Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team||3:01:53||20|
|2||SCHMID Mauro||Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team||1:07||10|
|3||VAUQUELIN Kévin||Team Arkéa Samsic||,,||5|
|5||VERMAERKE Kevin||Team DSM||,,||-|
|8||VANDENABEELE Henri||Team DSM||,,||-|
|10||HVIDEBERG Jonas Iversby||Team DSM||1:23||-|
|20||BRENNER Marco||Team DSM||1:26||-|
|72||KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren||Team DSM||11:29||-|
|1||MASNADA Fausto||Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team||14:49:00|
|2||CHARMIG Anthon||Uno-X Pro Cycling Team||0:55|
|3||HIRT Jan||Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux||0:58|
|7||VERMAERKE Kevin||Team DSM||1:22|
|8||VANDENABEELE Henri||Team DSM||1:23|
|29||HVIDEBERG Jonas Iversby||Team DSM||3:49|
|39||BRENNER Marco||Team DSM||7:08|
|56||KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren||Team DSM||13:20|
|1||CAVENDISH Mark||Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team||30|
|2||MASNADA Fausto||Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team||24|
|3||GAVIRIA Fernando||UAE Team Emirates||22|
|14||VANDENABEELE Henri||Team DSM||7|
|17||VERMAERKE Kevin||Team DSM||6|
|34||HVIDEBERG Jonas Iversby||Team DSM||1|
|1||CHARMIG Anthon||Uno-X Pro Cycling Team||14:49:55|
|2||SCHMID Mauro||Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team||0:11|
|3||VERMAERKE Kevin||Team DSM||0:27|
|4||VANDENABEELE Henri||Team DSM||0:28|
|17||HVIDEBERG Jonas Iversby||Team DSM||2:54|
|19||BRENNER Marco||Team DSM||6:13|
|1||Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux||44:31:04|
|3||Team Arkéa Samsic||1:20|
|4||Gazprom - RusVelo||1:34|
|6||Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team||2:41|
|7||UAE Team Emirates||5:07|
|9||Groupama - FDJ||8:55|
|10||Team BikeExchange - Jayco||10:45|