Tour of Oman, Stage 5: No Race21. February 2015 — Road Team
First a sandstorm, then gusty winds and high temperatures brought the Tour of Oman to a halt Saturday, with Stage 5 ultimately being canceled. (©Tim De Waele/TDWsport)
Racing was stopped before it began when a sandstorm swept through the start venue at Al Sawadi Beach. Riders and teams packed up and drove nearly two hours to the circuit portion of the scheduled 151.5-kilometer race that featured two laps and four climbs. But following a neutral rollout up and over the climb, the peloton stopped to meet with race organizers and officials. Twenty-five minutes later, the stage was canceled and the riders rode the final 10 km to the original finish line at the Ministry Of Housing in Muscat.
BMC Racing Team's Tejay van Garderen, who sits second overall and nine seconds off the lead of Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida) with one stage remaining, said he had mixed feelings about the decision not to race.
"I think they made the right decision not to start us in the sandstorm," van Garderen said. "I thought they made the right call there – a very prudent call. The neutralization up and over the climb saw some people on the downhill exploding their tires. From what I saw, it was all from the same team. So it wasn't that the conditions were dangerous. I think it was their equipment that was inferior. I think we would have been fine to race.
"Racing is always risky. You are never going to eliminate the risk. I think with our equipment – and probably 90 percent of the other teams' equipment – we would have been fine. I think it was just an isolated team with bad equipment. That affected everyone's ability to race the race.
"We wanted to try to pull back the time today. We didn't get that chance. We also wanted to go deep in a race to prepare for other races. We didn't get to do that either. So it is a big loss for the race organization, who wanted the race to go, and it is a big loss for everyone."
BMC Racing Team Audio Line
Listen to complete comments from van Garderen.