The Belgian takes first major stage race victory of his career as Kristoff took a third stage win
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) claimed a third stage of the 2017 Tour of Oman as Ben Hermans (BMC) safely sealed the overall victory on the final stage.
The Belgian took the lead in the race on stage two after a stage win, and asserted his dominance in the race after winning on Green Mountain on the stage five summit finish. Despite getting caught in a crash on Sunday’s sixth stage Muttrah Corniche, Hermans was able to recover and finish the stage with his 22 second advantage over his nearest rival Rui Costa (UAE Abu Dhabi).
The 130.5km stage, which featured a couple of difficult climbs en route to the finish, featured a three-man breakaway of Iljo Keisse (Quick-Step Floors), Aime De Gendt (Sport Vlaanderen) and Benjamin Geraud (Delko Marseille Provence).
They were able to establish a gap of around three minutes in the escape, despite a blustery wind battering the riders throughout the stage.
On the stage’s first climb at around 78km gone was when Hermans found himself caught up in the crash, while up front Geraud drifted out of lead group and back to the peloton depsite linking up with a second attempted breakaway that contained the likes of Mark Christian (Aqua Blue Sport).
BMC did much of the work to pull the break back in and as they entered the final 25km circuit the pair out front had around 1-20 advantage.
Keisse then found himself alone as De Gendt slipped away, and Katusha began to wind things up in search of another sprint victory for their leader Kristoff.
The lone Belgian was caught within the final 5km, and that prompted attacks from both Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC). Both were short lived as Katusha continued to hold a high pace, and eventually it was all back together for a bunch sprint.
Kristoff was able to comfortably power ahead of Eduard Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Sacha Modolo (UAE Abu Dhabi) to take his third win and confirm his position as the race’s best sprinter.
Tour of Oman 2017 stage six, The Wave – Muttrah Corniche (130.5k):
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin, in 2-57-03
2. Eduard Grosu (Rom) Nippo – Vini Fantini
3. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Team UAE Abu Dhabi
4. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise
5. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Triestina
6. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Sunweb
7. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
8. Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport
9. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data
10. Roy Jans (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect, all same time
Final general classification
1. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing in 20-56-20
2. Rui Costa (Por) UAE-Abu Dhabi at 22 secs
3. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 35 secs
4. Kudus Merhawi (Eri) Dimension-Data) at 58 secs
5. Tsgabu Grymay (Eth) Bahrain-Merida at 1-12
6. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale at 1-17
7. Mathias Frank (Sui) AG2R La Mondiale at 1-19
8. Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data at 1-21
9. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 1-33
10. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data at 1-38