Tour of Oman Stage 4: Bettiol Third, Van Avermaet Maintains Overall Lead16. February 2018, Ministry of Tourism, Muscat, (OMN) — Road Team
Day four at the Tour of Oman lived up to expectations with the 117.5km stage coming down to an explosive finale which saw Alberto Bettiol sprint to third on the line ahead of Greg Van Avermaet, who kept hold of the red leader’s jersey after finishing just behind in fourth place.
The road rose from KM 0 on stage 4 with riders battling it out on the short opening climb before a group of six eventually went clear and extended up an advantage over the rest of the field.
Behind the breakaway, BMC Racing Team, in support of race leader, Van Avermaet, was setting the pace and, after 23km of racing, the gap stabilized at around two minutes.
With the first two categorized climbs of the day complete, the BMC Racing Team-controlled peloton began to pick up the pace, and as the race headed towards the first of three ascents of the Bousher Al Amerat climb, the leaders’ advantage was down to only one minute.
The breakaway was falling apart on the second ascent of the climb and, with the gap now just 20 seconds, Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo) attacked from the bunch to join lone leader, Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (Team Dimension Data), with 25km remaining.
The duo was able to extend their advantage back out to 40 seconds as Van Avermaet’s teammates continued to do a stellar job at the front of a reduced bunch to protect his overall lead, eventually bringing the race back together on the third and final ascent of the climb.
As the summit grew nearer, a flurry of attacks saw a group of around 25 riders, which still included Van Avermaet, drawn out at the front of the race as a fast and furious 13.5km run into the finish line began.
Nicolas Roche and Bettiol pushed hard to set a fierce tempo for Van Avermaet at the front of the lead group heading into the closing kilometers of the race before the stage eventually came down to a bunch sprint for the line.
In the end, it was Magnus Cort Neilsen (Astana Pro Team) who took the day’s honors on the line with Bettiol and Van Avermaet, who maintained his overall lead of the General Classification, powering to third and fourth place respectively.
Quotes From the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
"It was pretty hard today. We tried to control the race for me and for the sprint, and I survived the climb pretty well so it was a good chance for me to try to win. But in the sprint, something went wrong, and I lost Alberto a little bit, and we couldn't do a good sprint anymore. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana Pro Team) was also really strong, and we ended up third and fourth. It's a bit of a pity that we didn't get closer to him."
"It was a really hard stage, and it is really warm here in Oman. I am very happy with third place today. I think me, Greg and Nico did an amazing job. We stayed together all day, and on the last climb, we managed well against the real climbers. Then in the finish, Nico did a huge amount of work to stay in front for Greg and in the final, I sprinted for third place. I lost Greg in the sprint, but he did a good result also. Overall today, BMC Racing Team stayed in the front, and we showed that we are a great team."
Tour of Oman
Stage 4: Yiti (Al Sifah) > Ministry of Tourism, Muscat, 117.5km
Top 3: 1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana Pro Team) 2. Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team) 3. Alberto Bettiol (BMC Racing Team)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 3. Alberto Bettiol 4. Greg Van Avermaet 22. Nicolas Roche