Chris Froome (Team Sky) claimed the first stage race victory of his professional career as he crossed the line mid-bunch at the end of the final stage of the Tour of Oman.
Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) won the 144km stage from Hawit Nagam Park to Matrah Corniche in a bunch sprint ahead of Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) and Taylor Phinney (BMC).
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On the steps alongside Froome on the final podium were two former Tour de France winners, Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Cadel Evans (BMC). “That was quite a special feeling,” he said. “It hasn’t quite sunk in yet that this is my first ever stage race win.
“Any victory over the riders that are here – Contador, Evans or [Vincenzo] Nibali – is a huge victory. I’m really happy with this. I know I’ve got new responsibilities and a new role in the team.
“To be honest I wasn’t expecting to come out on top. I was hoping for the top five somewhere. To be in this position gives me a lot of confidence and builds the team around me. It gives them confidence in my ability.”
After two tough stages, finishing at Green Mountain on Thursday and with an all-out assault by Contador on Friday, the final stage was relatively straightforward for Team Sky, who marshalled Froome on the high speed finishing circuits of the Corniche.
“I had an armchair ride to the finish during the last stage,” said Froome. “With the finishing circuit having a little bit of a climb on it, I was worried about something going wrong with the bike or a crash in front of me.
“The main thing was to stay at the front and out of trouble. The team took it up on the final circuits and lifted the pace, giving me a smooth ride in. Brad [Wiggins] did some massive pulls and everyone did their part. It was fantastic.
“It’s been a useful exercise to learn and take experiences away from the race. I’ve been able to test myself against the world’s best and have the team working for me. It couldn’t have gone better.”
Tour of Oman 2013, stage six: Hawit Nagam Parkto Matrah Corniche, 144km
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ
2. Matt Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing
4. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
5. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana
6. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge
7. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
8. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
9. Blaz Jarc (Slo) NetApp-Endura
10. Marco Coledan (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at same time
Final overall classification
1. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky in 20-04-13
2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff at 27 secs
3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 39 secs
4. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 50 secs
5. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r at 1-13
6. Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1-13
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 1-19
8. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ at 1-34
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r at 1-44
10. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r at 1-57
16. Steve Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing at 2-39
74. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky at 22-46
75. Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky at 23-02
88. Russell Downing (GBr) NetApp-Endura at 27-18
118. Erick Rowsell (GBr) NetApp-Endura at 33-35
Nacer Bouhanni wins the final stage
Alberto Contador, Chris Froome and Cadel Evans on the podium