The Norwegian won the opening stage of the desert race as Tom Boonen crashed out of contention with 700m to go

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) won the opening stage of the Tour of Oman 2017 in a sprint finish ahead of Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida).

It’s Kristoff’s second win of the season after winning a stage at the Etoile de Bessèges in early February and a good indicator of form as he builds towards Milan-San Remo and the Classics season.

It was bad news for Tom Boonen (Quick-Step) in his final season, as he crashed out of contention for the sprint with 700m to go.

The lack of TV coverage for the race made it difficult for fans to engage with the race, but a sprint finish was always expected on the 176.5km stage and Kristoff duly delivered as he sped ahead of his rivals on the right side of the road on the flat final straight.

It was a fast day on the opening day for the riders in the Oman heat, with five men, Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport), Aimé de Gendt (Topsport Vlaanderen), Christophe Masson (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect) and Giuseppe Fonzi (Wilier Triestina) making it into the breakaway early on.

They established a maximum three minute gap on the peloton, covering almost 50km in the first hour of racing. But it never looked likely they would make it to the finish.

De Gendt and Fonzi dropped with 25km to go with the leaders’ advantage down to 1-05, and Kristoff’s Katusha team did their best to begin reeling the final three in.

They were then finally caught with 10km to go, and the bunch began to wind up for a sprint finish to the day.

Kristoff was then able to lay a marker for the rest of the race, although the next opportunity for a sprint could come on the week’s final stage to Matrah Corniche on Sunday.

Wednesday’s stage will see the riders tackle several difficult climbs on the 145.5km stage to Al Bustan.

14 February 2016
8th Tour of Oman
Stage 01 : Al Sawadi Beach – Naseem Park
1st : KRISTOFF Alexander (NOR) Katusha – Alpecin
Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA

Provisional Results

Tour of Oman 2017, stage one: Al Sawadi Beach to Naseem Park (176.5km)

1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin, 3-46-29
2. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
4. Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport
5. Lucas Sebatian Haedo (Arg) UnitedHealthcare
6. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina
7. Roy Jans (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect
8. Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
9. Sacha Modolo (Ita) UAE-Abu Dhabi
10. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Willier Triestina, all same time

Overall classification after stage one

1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin
2. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
4. Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport
5. Lucas Sebatian Haedo (Arg) UnitedHealthcare
6. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina
7. Roy Jans (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect
8. Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
9. Sacha Modolo (Ita) UAE-Abu Dhabi
10. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Willier Triestina