The fourth stage of the 2019 Tour of Oman looked likely to come down to a sprint as the peloton tackled a 131km route with some testing climbs along the road.
A trio of testing climbs in the final half of the stage looked likely to test the legs of the fast men, but the distance to the line still gave them the chance to shine.
The 2019 race, which runs from Saturday (February 16) to Thursday (February 21), has attracted sprinting talent as well as those looking to the Classics season.
CCC Team’s Greg Van Avermaet is arguably the biggest name to line up at the six-stage event, but has yet to win a stage.
Niki Terpstra, winner of the 2018 Tour of Flanders, is also looking to get more miles in his legs with his new Direct Energie team.
In anticipation of the sprinters, Germany’s André Greipel is there with his new Continental outfit Arkéa Samsic, along with Dimension Data’s Giacomo Nizzolo.
Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) is also racing, along with Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida).
Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko won the 2018 edition of the race and led the general classification into stage four after winning stages two and three back to back.
Stage five sees the riders tackle Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Green Mountain.
The final stage is another lumpy but less testing day, likely to end in a bunch sprint.
Van Avermaet has ridden all but one edition of the race since it was launched in 2010.
The Belgian said: “It’s good preparation, a relaxing event, good weather with some nice stages.
“It’s a nice way to build up for the season. I like the way many of the stages are prepared for punchy riders.”
Catch up on the best bits from stage four here and read our race report.
The race continues with a 152km run, starting on at Samayil and finishing at the top of Green Mountain.