Tour of Oman final group forced to ride on open roads

Last group of riders left unprotected on open roads on stage one of the Tour of Oman

As Bob Jungels was winning yesterday’s stage of the Tour of Oman at Al Bustan, one of his Etixx-QuickStep team-mates was part of a group left stranded on open roads.

Iljo Keisse was one of the ‘grupetto’ that finished the stage some 10 minutes down on Jungels, and was alarmed to be sharing the road with cars and lorries within the final 10 kilometres.

The group had been dropped on the penultimate climb and the undulating narrow road section which followed, and were left to fend for themselves until the very end of the race.

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“I was in the last group and it’s true we were on open roads,” the Belgian rider told Cycling Weekly.

“OK, we were a little behind, but it was not too much and the cars and trucks were coming our way.

“We had no police motorcycle behind us, so the team cars that were still behind us started riding in front. It’s big wide roads and if you see cars coming the opposite way it’s logic to stay on your side of the road.”

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Despite no one being available to comment on the situation at this morning’s start, organisers were clearly aware of the situation, with race radio this morning warning dropped riders to be aware of traffic late in the second stage.

There is also a notable lack of police on controlling traffic on the race compared to other events, including last week’s Tour of Qatar.

Keisse was sanguine about the problem, but sounded a note of caution: “The road was wide enough, it wasn’t really a big problem,” he continued. “If you’re only five minutes back that’s not normal, but what’s going to happen if you lose 25 minutes, or if it happened on small roads?”