Bunch Sprint on Stage 1 in Oman as Bettiol Makes BMC Racing Team Debut13. February 2018, Muscat (OMN) — Road Team
The opening day of racing at the Tour of Oman saw Alberto Bettiol make his racing debut for BMC Racing Team before Jempy Drucker finished as the team's top-placed rider in the previously predicted bunch sprint.
A four-rider breakaway went clear almost as soon as the flag dropped on stage 1 and, after covering just 15km, of the 162.5km course, they had opened up an advantage of 4’30”.
However, with a bunch sprint up for grabs at the end of the day, the peloton quickly took control, pulling the early leaders back to a manageable three minutes, where the gap hovered for the majority of the race.
Heading into the final 50km, an increase in pace at the front of the main bunch saw the breakaway quickly pulled back to 1’45” before eventually, the catch was made with less than 10km to go.
With the race back together and the stage set for a fast and furious finale, the battle for position began with teams looking to set up their sprinters heading onto the finishing straight.
BMC Racing Team kept Drucker well-protected in the closing kilometers of the race and, after battling it out amongst a strong field, he was the team’s best-placed rider, finishing in 15th place behind the day’s winner, Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept Cycling Club).
Quotes From the Finish Line
“It's all good after stage 1. Finally, I was able to put my BMC Racing Team jersey on and have a bit more red on my skin."
Sports Director, Valerio Piva:
“Today was definitely a stage for the sprinters and when the breakaway went away it was clear that the sprinters’ teams would control the race. In the final, the idea was to help Jempy Drucker, but the sprint started early, and there was a strong headwind. Tomorrow is a more selective final so, I think this will be better suited to our strengths. For us as a team, this stage was a little bit of a warm-up, and everyone was happy at the finish, so we will see what happens over the next few days.”
Tour of Oman
Stage 1: Nizwa > Sultan Qaboos University, 162.5km
Top 3: 1. Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept Cycling Club) 2. Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Date) 3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 15. Jempy Drucker 25. Francisco Ventoso 46. Nicolas Roche