UAE Team Emirates rider Alexander Kristoff wins opening Tour of Oman stage
Norwegian sprinter claims ninth stage win at the race and proves he is in fine fettle ahead of the inaugural UAE Tour
UAE Team Emirates rider Alexander Kristoff secured victory in the opening stage of the Tour of Oman on Saturday as the Norwegian took the race leader's jersey for Stage 2.
Kristoff, in his second season with UAE Team Emirates, was a comfortable winner at the end of the 138.5-kilometre stage from Al Sawadi Beach to Suhar Corniche, crossing the finish line ahead of French sprinters Bryan Coquard of Vital Concept-B&B Hotels, and Nacer Bouhanni of Cofidis Solutions Credits.
In warm conditions, a four-man group - Guerin Alexis (Delko Marseille Provence), Emiel Planckaert (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Sergio Rodriguez (Euskadi Basque Country-Murias), and Michael Schar (CCC Team) - quickly established a lead of four minutes, 25 seconds after just 15km.
After 35km, the group's lead was cut to 2:45, and with 20km to go, Planckaert was the first of the group to surrender as the peloton closed the gap to within a minute.
With 10km remaining, that gap was down to 15 seconds before the lead vanished entirely 4km from the finish line.
The sprinters now set up for a thrilling finish, it was Kristoff who stormed to victory, while Andre Greipel's hopes of victory were dashed by a puncture with 10km to go.
It was Kristoff's ninth stage victory at the Tour of Oman, and suggests the Norwegian is in good form ahead of UAE Team Emirates' home race - the inaugural UAE Tour - starting next Sunday.
Updated: February 16, 2019 03:46 PM