Britain’s Alex Dowsett said he was delighted but exhausted after taking part in a 135 kilometre break in stage two of the Tour of Oman on Monday – in just his second race as a pro.
Dowsett formed part of a four man move that collaborated exceptionally well, getting away after just seven kilometres and staying out there until just after the race hit its two final laps of a seven kilometre loop.
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The terrain during the 135 kilometre break was unremittingly difficult for the four riders out there – Dowsett, Kristof Vandewalle (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator), Luxembourger Ben Gastauer (Ag2r) and American Jackson Stewart (BMC Racing Team).
For over two hours the four ploughed along a two-lane motorway into a block headwind in temperatures that roared up into the low thirties, and it was only in the last 30 kilometres that the road finally turned onto equally flat but slightly less exposed roads.
As Cycling Weekly could see from a following car just behind the break, the four worked well, and despite all of race leader’s Jimmy Casper’s team, Soar-Sojasun, piling on the pressure behind, they failed to pull them back.
It was only when additional support from Garmin and Liquigas was added to the sprinters chasing in the bunch that Dowsett and co. were finally reeled in.
“I wasn’t as strong as the other three, and I missed a few turns here and there,” Dowsett said afterwards.
“But I kept myself in there and after getting rolled in the first sprint, I got up there in the second and hopefully I’ve put myself in a good position on GC.”
“Then I just hung on by the skin of my teeth, and finished just behind [Sky’s] Lars-Peter Nordhaug.
“I don’t think I’ve ever held on so hard in my life but it’s not that often you get a chance in a race this big.”
“It was a hell of a slog but I’m very pleased.”
As it turned out, Dowsett’s efforts were rewarded with eighth place overall after the stage.