Muscat – Fernando Gaviria, of the UAE Team Emirates, powered to victory on the Mutttrah Corniche in the sixth and final race of the Tour of Oman on Tuesday. Czech rider Jan Hirt took the overall honours.
Already a winner of Stage 1, the Colombian ‘Misil’ capped off a thrilling week of racing with a fast and furious sprint to take the win ahead of Kaden Groves (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Amaury Capiot (Arkea-Samsic).
Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) resisted his rivals’ attacks on a rolling terrain to secure the overall victory on the day after his dominant performance up Jabal Akhdhar.
Hirt’s victory ends a six year hiatus for him – he won the 2016 Tour of Austria – with the 31-year-old taking control after Monday’s challenging stage which climaxed on the summit of Jabal Akhdar.
The Intermarche team rider had a winning margin of a minute over Italy’s Fausto Masnada with experienced Portuguese cyclist Rui Costa in third.
Gaviria prevailed in the stage after being given a superb lead by UAE team-mate Maximiliano Richeze – the 27-year-old Colombian edging out Kaden Groves of Australia and Belgian Amaury Capiot. British cycling great Mark Cavendish finished seventh in the stage.
Relentless action in the final 50km
The 89-man peloton set off from Al Mouj Muscat in sunny and hot conditions. Seven attackers jumped ahead of the peloton in the first kilometres raced on the coastline: Johan Meens (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Antonio Angulo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Victor Langellotti (Burgos-BH), Mohamed Al-Wahibi (Oman National Selection), Martin Lopez and Alexandre Vinokurov (Astana Qazaqstan Development Team).
Team BikeExchange-Jayco and UAE Team Emirates quickly took the reins of the bunch to control the gap around two minutes. The race opened up in the first ascent of the day, the short and steep climb of Al Hamriyah (0.8km at 9.8%), to be summited with 52.5km to go.
At the front, Angulo led the way to the summit with Meens, Langellotti and Lopez. In the peloton, Kevin Vermaerke (Team DSM) and Kevin Vauquelin (Arkea-Samsic) went on the move, setting off relentless action.
The peloton split due to the hard chase on a rolling terrain. But most of the riders came back together inside the last 30km, just ahead of the final circuit, a 7.5km loop around the shimmering Muttrah Corniche.
Quick-Step controls, UAE concludes
Attacks kept flying, with Denis Strakhov (Gazprom-RusVelo) setting off at the front with 25km to go. Joan Bou (Euskaltel-Euskadi) went after him, but Cavendish’s Quick-Step Team drove the bunch to reel in the attackers with 12km to go.
Soren Kragh Andersen (Team DSM) kicked on the final uphill, inside the last 3km to go, but the Wolfpack caught up with him again. In the final kilometre, UAE Team Emirates launched Fernando Gaviria to his second victory of the season.