Marcel Kittel won the sixth and final stage of the Tour of Oman on Sunday afternoon on Mattrah Corniche, ahead of Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale)
Race victory went to Peter Velits (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who kept his one-second lead over Vincenzo Nibali, holding off a spirited challenge from the Liquigas man.
The Italian squad rode down the early breakaway for a showdown at the first intermediate sprint.
Tom Boonen won it, but confusion reigned initially, as Omega Pharma-Quick Step first heard that Vincenzo Nibali had come second and snatched the provisional lead.
In fact, his teammate Peter Sagan and Van Keirsbulck crossed the line next, preserving Velits’s lead. But it was very close.
“It was a mess, to be honest,” Velits told CW at the finish. “It was stressful for us and confusing… I still think I beat Vincenzo. They had pictures from the sprint, they saw it.”
Velits’s early birthday present
Coming into the finish, he could enjoy his first win since a 2010 Vuelta a Espana time-trial. “It’s a really good early birthday present,” the Slovakian, who turns 27 in two days, said.
“It’s nice, I’m really happy that everything worked out. The team were a part of this victory, they really helped me in the sprint, that was the most important thing today.”
Omega Pharma-Quick Step have hit the ground running this year; this was their twelfth win, after successes in Argentina, Mallorca, Qatar and the Algarve.
“The team is so motivated, everyone’s happy to race, they see that it’s possible to win. It’s a perfect feeling… I think it’s going to continue,” Velits said.
After a mid-race breakaway with Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) and Garmin-Barracuda pair Christian Vande Velde and Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Barracuda) was swept up, a bunch sprint enused.
Marcel the marvel
Coming into the finish, Project 1t4i’s train surged to set up Kittel, who obliged with his third win of the year.
Beaming in the sunlight, Kittel said: “I’m really happy… It was very fast and hectic again; the whole team did a great leadout, bringing me to the front.”
Kittel, who also won stage three here, isn’t getting complacent after his third win of the season.
He added: “It’s 2012 now and everything is set back to zero. We have a new beginning now.”
World champion Mark Cavendish crossed the line in fourteenth, gesturing at Sky teammate Mat Hayman moments later.
Tour of Oman 2012, stage six: Al Khawd to Matrah Corniche, 130 kilometres
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Project 1t4i
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 3-11-04
3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Barracuda
4. Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Katusha
5. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-BigMat
6. Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
7. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
8. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
9. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Farnese Vini
10. Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha all same time
Final general classification
1. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 21-32-02
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 1 sec
3. Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Nissan at 17secs
4. Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-BigMat at 21secs
5. Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ-BigMat at 30secs
6. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Rabobank
7. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 47secs
8. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Barracuda at 49secs
9. Thomas Lebas (Fra) Bridgestone-Anchor at 50secs
10. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan at 52secs
Peter Velits wins the 2012 Tour of Oman overall
Nibali wins on Green Mountain