Edvald Boasson Hagen has won stage 2 of the Tour of Oman, on the furious uphill climb to the finish his Dimension Data team put in a strong display of power with Boasson Hagen winning ahead of Vincenzo Nibali and Greg van Avermaet.
It would be a 4 hour day in the saddle as the riders took on the 162km from Omantel Head Office to Quriyat; and the sting was well and truly in the tail. The second stage of the Tour of Oman featured two climbs, with the final one kicking off 3km from the final and ramping right up; providing an exciting finish to the stage. A restless start to the stage finally saw a group of six riders break clear. Two riders who had featured in yesterday’s breakaway – Christoph Pfingsten of Bora-Argon18 and Kenny Dehaes of Wanty Groupe Gobert – were joined in their efforts on the front today by Stijn Steels of Topsport Vlaanderen Baloise, Alexander Kamp of Stoltin Service Group, Pierre-Luc Perichon of Fortuneo-Vital Concept and Jesper Asselman of Roompot.
The first climb of the day peaked at 33km into the race and by the time the break reached that ascent they had built a 3 minute advantage. But their lead wouldn’t extend too much more than that, with the red leader’s jersey on the back of Bob Jungels and his Etixx-Quick Step team looking to give him a good chance of retaining the jersey.
Interestingly the cooperation in the breakaway evaporated pretty early, with the first intermediate sprint in Al Salil at 81km seemingly the cue for the break to split. After some attacks from different riders three riders broke free, with Jesper Asselman, Pierre-Luc Perichon and Alexander Kamp being the last remaining remnants of the breakaway after shaking off the other three.
The catch was imminent though with the final climb approaching, and with 20km of racing left all was back together. CCC Sprandi Polkowice – looking after Davide Rebellin – played a strong role in the run up to the climb, with the orange jerseys to the fore. But Astana and Dimension Data showed a strong set of wheels when the road went up. Edvald Boasson Hagen showed impressive climbing form, considering the pedigree of Vincenzo Nibali. The attacks were largely deflated because of the pace, but there was a move that caused a bunch split that was launched by AG2R La Mondiale. The move pulled a small group of riders along and split the field behind them; with Bob Jungels falling back and relinquishing red.
In the sprint finish Edvald Boasson Hagen hit for home in the last 75m or so and though Nibali tried to go with him it was a lost cause with the Norwegian sprinting away to the win. Van Avermaet was third with Domenico Pozzovivo of AG2R La Mondiale and Davide Rebellin of CCC Sprandi Polkowice completing the top 5.
With the stage not being one for the sprinters by any means, Shane Archbold’s lead out duties could take a back seat while teammate Patrick Konrad stepped up to take 12th in the finale. Meanwhile LottoNL-Jumbo’s George Bennett subtly moved up the standings. The Kiwi climber finished 26th on the stage, which was good enough for him to move into 25th overall; 1.23mins behind race leader Boasson Hagen.