Nathan Haas wins at Oman in love-fest.

Haas on a high in Oman

Today, in the Tour of Oman, Nathan Haas was filled with love.

He adores his bike, calling it “awesome,” he loves his legs, calling them “fantastic” and he has tremendous affection for this part of the world, saying, “I love coming to Oman.”

On top off all that, it was Valentines Day. In honor of all that gushing love, Haas decided that he “just wanted to give myself a nice Valentine’s present.”

He did this at the expense of Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), as they both finished behind him after a blistering sprint. The victory, along with a four second time bonus, jumped Haas into the leaders jersey with the Belgian four seconds behind and Lutsenko six ticks from the top spot.

Naturally, Haas is also wildly in love with his new home after coming over from Dimension Data. “My team Katusha-Alpecin was just amazing. It was the first time in a long time that I just had to sit and not to think. They guided me to where I got to do my thing,” said Haas.

His favorite new thing is going uphill at a higher velocity than last season. “I think I am climbing a bit better than I was last year. I am a little bit lighter and my bike is awesome. I’m gonna fight till the end, whether or not I can hold the red jersey or maybe even get on the podium,” said Haas.

Haas last won a race two years ago on stage 4 of the Vuelta a Burgos. No wonder he let out an ear-splitting howl of excitement and triumph crossing the finish line, hopping off his bike and lifting it high. “I’ve been trying to win a bike race, a real bike race for a while, so for me to finish it off, means a huge reaction. I’ve been saying to everyone that they’ll know it when I won because they’ll hear it.”

Haas won today with a little historical research on this particular stage. In effect, he did his own version, North African version of Chasing Cancellara. “I realised that I’m not one of the phenomena of the cycling world and I have to be a little bit smarter and a little bit more prepared,” said Haas.

“I knew that if I came a little bit from the back, you don’t want to be first or second when you sprint because the drag was quite high up, you can get that slingshot. Cancellara won it on the right by going the shorter line so I put a little bit of his work into what I did today and it paid off.”

Hard to say if a man so in love can keep that emotional energy going for the rest of the week. The difficult stage to Wadi Dayqah Dam awaits and then on Saturday, the queen stage to Green Mountain will provide the ultimate challenge.

Haas was ninth on Green Mountain a year ago and hopes to do far better than that. “Who knows, it’s cycling, he said. “You can do pretty special things when you’re in front and, hopefully, I can channel something into going fast.”

Perhaps Henry David Thoreau could offer Haas some racing strategy. “There is no remedy for love but to love more.”





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