The Norweigian roared back to take a second stage win of the race after losing his overall lead on Green Mountain on stage four
The Norwegian sprinted clear of a small group for his second victory of the race and the team’s sixth of he season so far, including Boasson Hagen’s time trial win at the Tour of Qatar.
Race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and fellow GC hopeful Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), who sat in second, finished the stage safely with the same time as the winner to retain their places on GC.
Though yesterday’s mountain top finish at Green Mountain was the decisive stage of the week, today’s 119.5km race between Yiti and the Ministry of Tourism was a severe test for the peloton and further defined the classification.
Beginning in a tiny seaside village, the peloton set off on a narrow road through jagged brown rocky peaks, the road littered with numerous short, very steep climbs, before heading towards Muscat.
There was, however, no let up in the climbing on the more major roads, which passed though the mountains behind the city. There were then three ascents of Bousher Al Amerat, a climb used on stage two, which Boasson Hagen also won, before the peloton headed into the city.
Shortly after the start three riders, Hugo Houle (AG2R), Pieter Weening (Roompot) and Boasson Hagen’s South African team mate, Jacques Janse van Rensburg broke clear of the pack, building a lead which at one stage was over six minutes.
As the three riders made their first ascent of Bousher Al Amerat that gap had reduced to 4-20 and, though Houle was dropped on the climb, the remaining two worked hard to stay away.
Behind them the peloton was whittled down by the climbing, leaving under 40 riders in the peloton going into the final, among them Boasson Hagen and race leader Nibali. The leading duo managed to resist the peloton well, but were eventually caught with only two kilometres remaining.
“About four or five kilometres to go I started to think about what I am going to do on the sprint,” Van Rensburg said. “I didn’t help Pieter in the break because Edvald was in the group behind, so I was getting ready when I saw they were just behind us.
It had been the team tactical plan for Van Rensburg to be in the break: “I am only four minutes down on GC,” he told us. “It puts a bit of pressure to keep the tempo quite high in the bunch so that it suited Edvald quite well up the climbs. It definitely worked out in the end with Edvald winning, so I am really happy about that.”
With four other Dimension Data riders able to lead Boasson-Hagen out in the final, the Norwegian dominated the sprint, finishing ahead of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC).
As for Van Rensburg, he starts tomorrow’s final stage wearing the most aggressive rider jersey having hoovered the maximum available points today. With a lead of 12 points he will win the polka dot jersey proving he finishes tomorrow.
Stage six covers 130.5 km between The Wave Muscat and Matrah Corniche after which the winner of the Tour of Oman will be presented his red jersey.
Tour of Oman stage five, Yiti (Al Sifah) – Ministry of Tourism (119.5km):
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data, in 3-05-32
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
3. Marco Canola (Ita) United HealthCare
4. Simone Ponzi (Ita) CCC Sprandi
5. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx-QuickStep
6. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Stolting Service Group
7. Erik Sven Bystrom (Nor) Katusha
8. Adam Phelan (Aus) Drapac
9. Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
10. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimensions Data, all same time
12. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, st
14. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale, st
General Classfication after stage five
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, 19-24-07
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 15 secs
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, at 24 secs
4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin, 40 secs
5. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida, at 54 secs
6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor), at 1-06
7. Brendan Canty (Aus) Drapac, at 1-31
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 1-38
9. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data, at 1-41
10. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx-QuickStep, at 1-59