2/13/2013 - NEWS!


Sagan doubles up at Tour of Oman

Second stage win in two days for Slovak rider

Peter Sagan (Team Cannondale) unleashed his natural aggression and finely balanced climbing and sprinting ability to win stage 3 of the Tour of Oman up to the edge of the Wadi Dayqah Dam.

Sagan won on the same finish last year and repeated the same late surge again, powering away from everyone with 500 metres to go and opening a comfortable winning margin before the finish line. He was so strong and so much faster than his rivals that he had time to sit as he approached the finish and wave his hands in the air, seeming to ask what had happened to his rivals and indicating he had won with Merckx-esque ease.

Greg Van Avermaert (BMC Racing Team) won the fight for the best of the rest, one second behind Sagan. Tony Gallopin (Radioshack-Leopard) was third, with Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) in his slipstream. Fourth place meant the Spaniard missed out on the time bonuses but revealed he is serious about targeting overall victory and will surely be aggressive on the climb to the finish at Green Mountain on Thursday.

Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) finished seventh, at four seconds, with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) 11th at eight seconds and Chris Froome (Team Sky) 13th at nine seconds. Contador is now the best placed overall contender as Green Mountain looms large on the horizon, with Nibali one second behind, 2012 winner Peter Velits (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) at two seconds, Froome at four seconds and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) at eight seconds. The 10-6-4 second time bonuses could play a huge factor in deciding the overall winner.

Five hours in the saddle

The riders were hot and tired after riding 190km and five hours under the hot Oman sun. After cording the finish line and grabbing drinks from their soigneurs they quickly rolled back down the climb to their team cars.

Only Sagan and Bobbie Traksel (Champion System) were needed on the edge of the dam for the podium ceremony. Traksel had again been in the break of the day to defend the polka-dot most aggressive rider jersey, while Sagan climbed on the podium four times to collect the honours as stage winner, and for the red, white and green jerseys as leader of the general classification, the points classification and the best young rider classification.

It was emblematic of his domination, with the likes of world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) Contador and Chris Froome (Team Sky) left with bit parts in the second consecutive Sagan show.

"I really want to thank the team for all the work they did today. There was a lot of headwind but the team set me up and its great to win," Sagan said as he got changed with his loyal and hard working Team Cannondale teammates.

"I remembered that the last 20km and the uphill finish was tough. Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) was the first to attack. I chased him down and there was about 100 metres to the end of the climb. I wanted to be at the front as the road eased and I was. After that, it was pretty easy it was good to win again."

Sagan is known for his original stage victory celebrations. However after looking back several times, he was perhaps so surprised by his significant winning margin that he was unsure how to celebrate.

"In the end I didn't do anything. I looked back but only to see if they were catching me." They weren't, with main peloton spread across eight minutes.

Thanks to a 10-second time bonus, Sagan extended his overall race lead to 16 seconds on Gallopin, with Van Avermaet moving up to third place at 26 seconds.

All three will surely slip down the classification after Thursday's stage, with Sagan confirming he will not attempt to defend the red jersey, despite his excellent form.

"It's a real climb tomorrow," he said. "It's six kilometres long. I don't think I'll be up there or be able to defend my lead."

The 152.5km stage from Al Saltiyah in Samail to Jabal al Akhdhar (Green Mountain) is largely flat as it twists around the Wadi and valleys. The final 5.5km, with the last two kilometres at 13.5%, will decide the stage winner and the overall race winner. 

Photo: © Bettini

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