Olympic and World Time Trial Champion Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) clinched the overall of the Tour of Oman with a scorching ride in the final time trial, won by Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky).
Twentieth overall at 16 seconds behind former leader Daniele Bennati before the time trial, Cancellara was in his element on the rolling 19 kilometre course despite telling Cycling Weekly the day before that he had felt ill during the whole of Oman.
The course featured an uphill start and a painfully long, exposed climb early on, preceding a 90kmh descent to the capital Muscat and a fast final spin along the stunning seafront. In fact, it bore more than a few similarities to the opening time trial of the Tour de France at Monaco last year – which Cancellara also won – right down to the baking hot weather.
“The key thing was I raced without any pressure,” Cancellara said afterwards, “that way I could dig a lot deeper.”
“It was a difficult course, had a lot of tricky moments, but we’d seen a part of the course a lot of times during the last few days because it was the same road as to the hotel where we stayed, so I had plenty of time to think about how to race it.”
“At the same time, it’s really important to have been able to win here in Oman. This is a new race, one which is bringing the sport of cycling to a whole new public. It’s a great victory for me to have.”
Second overall, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) lost the lead on stage four but bounced back to take Sky’s fifth victory of the season in the final time trial of Oman.
Nineteen seconds faster than Cancellara after the hillier first 10 kilometres of the course, the Swiss rider only pulled back two seconds in the second part, leaving Boasson a comfortable 17 second margin. Cameron Meyer (Garmin-Transitions) was third on the stage, whilst Geraint Thomas (Sky) showed rising form with ninth at 1-20.
“You’ve got a stage win, a second place overall, the points jersey and the Best Young Rider’s prize,” Eddy Merckx told Boasson Hagen as he waited to go up on the podium , “that’s not bad!”
“I’m really pleased with the result because I didn’t feel so great in the morning, my legs were quite tired after two weeks racing,” Boasson Hagen said to Cycling Weekly.
“I did the start and felt good and then tried to keep going as fast as possible without really planning a strategy. I only had one split time to go on but Steve [De Jongh, sports director] was very good at keeping me informed and motivated.”
“There wasn’t really a strategy, just go flat out from the gun. I caught five guys during the time trial [off at minute intervals] so that was pretty good, too.”
Boasson Hagen’s next races will be Het Volk and Kurne-Brussels-Kurne next weekend.
“It’s going to take some getting used to the weather and drop in temperature, but I’m going back to Norway first so that’ll be even colder,” he said. “After that, Belgium won’t be so bad!”
In the final overall classification, Roger Hammond (Cervelo) was the best-placed Brit in 19th, 1-43 behind Cancellara.
Tour of Oman 2010, stage six ITT
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky in 25-58
2. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank at 17secs
3. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Garmin-Transitions at 45secs
4. Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Columbia at 48secs
5. Artem Ovechkin (Rus) Katusha at 1-01
6. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Milram at 1-11
7. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto at 1-19
8. Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team at same time
9. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky at 1-20
10. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo at same time
39. Roger Hammod (GB) Cervelo at 2-00
55. Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky at 2-18
83. Daniel lloyd (GB) Cervelo at 2-48
97. Alex Dowsett (GB) Trek-LiveStrong at 3-20
Final overall classification
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank in 16-02-52
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky at 28secs
3. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Garmin-Transitions at same time
4. Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Columbia at 31secs
5. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo at 47secs
6. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Milram at 54secs
7. Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team at 1-02
8. Martin Velits (Svk) HTC-Columbia at 1-07
9. Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Quick Step at 1-12
10. Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo at 1-13
19. Roger Hammond (GB) Cervelo at 1-43
61. Daniel Lloyd (GB) Cervelo at 3-36
65. Alex Dowsett (GB) Trek-LiveStrong at 3-53
70. Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky at 4-22
80. Geraint Thomas (GB) Team Sky at 5-00
Britain’s top finisher, Geraint Thomas came home in ninth
Stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen
Overall winner and second on the TT stage, Fabian Cancellara
Tour of Oman stage five: Boonen takes third win of year
Tour of Oman stage four: Sky lose Oman lead in ferocious final hour
Tour of Oman stage three: Boasson Hagen takes stage win
Tour of Oman stage two: Boasson Hagen moves into lead
Tour of Oman 2010, stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Dowsett in escape group in Oman stage 2
Tour of Oman, stage one report: Boasson Hagen second
Tour of Oman 2010, stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Tour of Oman 2010: Preview and guide
Edvald Boasson Hagen: Rider Profile