German Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) continued his solid start to the season, taking the opening stage of the 2012 Tour of Oman on Tuesday.
Greipel burst through the bunch to put Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha) in second and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda) in third.
Meanwhile, British sprint star and world champion Mark Cavendish (Sky) did not contest the bunch gallop after getting caught up with an incident with a kilometre to go.
Katusha rider Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) took Cavendish off the road, forcing him to unclip and lose position.
Greipel won three stages of WorldTour opener, the Tour Down Under in January.
A Lotto joy
Greipel’s elation and key leadoutman Greg Henderson’s shout of “we’re back!” at the finish showed how much it meant to them.
Henderson said “The plan worked perfectly. It’s the first race back with a leadout, to win is a nice feeling.”
There is a strong energy and camaraderie about the Lotto leadout, a combination of Greipel’s former HTC teammates and young Belgians.
“Last year, we were just three guys, so it was really impossible to form leadout trains,” Greipel said.
Though there may have been an edge to Cavendish and Greipel’s relationship in the past, the German spoke of his respect for the Team Sky rider today.
“I always respect him… he’s world champion, he’s one of the fastest, maybe the fastest in the bunch. We don’t need hype.”
Henderson believes that Cavendish and Greipel are the two fastest. “It just came down to experience and horspower. It shows who had the better leadout [today], that’s all. I think that’ll be the way this year.”
Tour of Oman 2012, stage one: Al Alam Royal Palace to Wadi Al Hoqay, 159km
1. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol in 3-25-59
2. Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha
3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Barracuda
4. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Project 1t4i
5. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
6. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-BigMat
7. Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
8. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Farnese Vini
9. Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Nissan
10. Matt Goss (Aus) GreenEdge at same time
Overall classification after stage one
1. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol
2. Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha at 4 secs
3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Barracuda at 6 secs
4. Alexandre Lemair (Fra) Bridgestone Anchor at 8 secs
5. Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha at 9 secs
6. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Project 1t4i at 10 secs
7. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale at 10 secs
8. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-BigMat at 10 secs
9. Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 10 secs
10. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Farnese Vini at 10 secs
Andre Greipel takes the opening stage of the 2012 Tour of Oman
Andre Greipel in the leader’s jersey