VeloClub is CyclingTips’ membership program which brings us closer to our members, and connects likeminded cycling enthusiasts.
by Shane Stokes
February 16, 2018
Van Avermaet wins stage 3 of the Tour of Oman; Poels wins stage 2 of the Vuelta a Andalucia/Ruta del Sol; Kwiatkowski takes first win of season on stage 2 of Volta ao Algarve; Tough economic conditions mean an end for the Tour of Alberta; Sharing leadership with Dennis, Roche hunting top 10 in Giro d’Italia; Trek XC team signs Ellen Noble and Evie Richards; D’hoore looks towards title defence of world Madison title; Video: Chasing Spartacus – updates on Phil’s “race” with Fabian Cancellara, Part I; Video: Peter Sagan – The Crazy Man; Video: The problem with cars; Video: A Fixie Documentary
Greg Van Avermaet went one better than his runner-up slot on Wednesday’s second stage of the Tour of Oman, winning at the end of day three of the race on Thursday. The Olympic road race champion snagged his first victory of the year with a strong drive for home at the end of the short but steep Wadi Dayqah Dam climb.
“I am always happy to win and especially in Oman after so many years,” the Belgian said. “I think the team did a perfect job. We came at the right moment on the descent with three km to go, and they put me in a perfect position so I could wait for the perfect moment. It was at the hardest point of the climb that I went full gas, and I just hoped that no one could follow. That’s what happened so I was really happy that I could cross the line first.”
Stage 2 winner and overnight leader Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin) couldn’t match his rival’s pace and finished seven seconds adrift in fifth place. Former world champion Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) was closest to Van Aermaet, beatng Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) for second but conceding three seconds.
The 179.5 kilometre stage started at the German University of Technology and saw an immediate attack by Wouter Wippert (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij), Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Loic Chetout (Cofidis) and Nicholas Schultz (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA). These were one minute clear after just five kilometres and established a maximum lead of almost five minutes.
This advantage oscillated and, with 20 kilometres left, the break’s last remnants Meurisse and Schultz were recaptured. Astana and then the BMC Racing Team drove the pace towards the line, where Van Avermaet was able to show his form and grab the overall lead. He is now 11 seconds clear of Lutsenko with Haas a further two seconds back.