Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Mark Cavendish clinched his second top-three finish of the year as he finished second in the opening stage of the Tour of Oman.
The stage was won in a bunch sprint by Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept) with Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) third and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) in fourth.
This result follows on Cavendish’s stage three victory at the recent Dubai Tour.
The 162.5km stage from Nizwa to Sultan Qaboos University saw an early breakaway of four riders stay away for most of the day. Maxime Farazijn (SVB), Pierre Luc Perichon (FST) Conor Dunne (ABS)) and Brian Van Goethem (RNL) managed to extend their lead to over 3 minutes in the first 100km of the race, but the peloton comfortably controlled the gap to around a minute in the latter stages.
As expected, the break was reeled in by the teams who had sprint ambitions with just under 10 kilometres to go, setting up a final sprint. Our riders worked to protect Cavendish through the race and in the last corner, he was placed just outside the top five. He had work to move up into place for the last km. Cavendish claimed second in the sprint, with the rest of his teammates safely over the line after a solid performance.
Nic Dougall – Rider
“We just looked after Cavendish and also after Merhawi (Kudus) because we’re looking at him for the GC. In the final we just tried to protect Cav as much as possible but obviously we didn’t have a full sprint lead-out team for him so he was happy to follow the other teams and surf some of their trains so he was in a pretty good position. He did a really good sprint for second. We’re looking forward to the next couple of days which are a bit harder and should suit the climbers a bit more. We’re looking good for the rest of the week.”