Van Avermaet Sprints to Second on Tour of Oman Stage 214. February 2018, Al Bustan, Muscat (OMN) — Road Team
The second stage of the Tour of Oman came down to an explosive finale with Greg Van Avermaet securing second in the uphill sprint for the line following a strong performance in the closing kilometers of the race.
Despite an initial battle to form the day’s breakaway, it took just 8km, of the 167.5km course, for a group of four riders to go clear at the front of the race and begin to build up an advantage over the rest of the field, which, 20km later, began to hover at around the three-minute mark.
With two of the day’s four categorized climbs complete, the pace began to pick up with the early leaders being pulled back to two minutes on the approach to the steep slopes of the Al Hamriyah climb with 25km to go as BMC Racing Team began to set a fierce tempo at the front of a reduced peloton.
As the road began to rise for the final time, the main bunch, which was now made up of only 50 riders, sat just a handful of seconds behind the three remaining leaders and with the catch made before the summit of the Al Jissah climb, the stage was set for an explosive finale.
Following the work of his BMC Racing Team teammates earlier in the stage, Van Avermaet looked strong as he responded to an attack with 4km to go which drew out a select group of 15 riders that would go on to battle for the stage win.
In the end, it was Nathan Haas (Team Katusha-Alpecin) who went on to take the day's honors in the uphill drag race to the line with Van Avermaet just missing out to take second ahead of Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team).
Quotes From the Finish Line
Greg Van Avermaet:
“It was a nice finish for me. The whole team tried to put me in a good position, and everybody did their best. I think I went a little bit too early to finish it off. I am happy with the result overall, I am used to getting second or third here and for me, it is a good example of form, and we will try to do our best again tomorrow. This kind of climb is a good test. It is a short effort, and you get to see what kind of Classics guys can get over it together with the climbers. So for me, it was also some good training.”
Tour of Oman
Stage 2: Sultan Qaboos University > Al Bustan, 167.5km
Top 3: 1. Nathan Haas (Team Katusha - Alpecin) 2. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) 3. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 2. Greg Van Avermaet 16. Alberto Bettiol 38. Nicolas Roche