An Italian, a Norwegian and an American sprinter charged across the Sultanate of Oman. Yes, cycling truly is a global sport. Time to consider couscous and maqbous, a spiced Omani rice dish, as an alternative to pasta.
It was top Sky signing (besides the stolen Mr. Wiggins) Edvald Boasson Hagen who beat Danilo Napolitano (Katusha) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) into the small fishing village of Qurayyat. Boasson scores the catch of the day — perhaps some big eye tuna — and champagne.
“I’m really happy,” Boasson Hagen told reporters at the finish. “Finally we made it. The guys made good lead outs in the last stages but I didn’t finish it off. To finally win is a good feeling.”
“There was an attack on the descent but Sutton and Vigano took me to the front. We lead it out but then Garmin came up on us. Sutton responded and then I went past them.”
The team of DS Scott Sunderland now has a time trial win in the recent Tour of Qatar to go with a stage win in Oman. The sprint was complicated by a desert wind blowing in but Sky and wind, well, that’s no big deal.
“The sprint was really fast and we were all on the left because there was a slight side wind blowing from the right. We lead it out but then Garmin came up on us. CJ responded and stopped them taking control, then I went past them,” said Boasson Hagen.
For Tyler Farrar it was another missed opportunity, close but no hookah pipe. He was later seen in deep discussion with revered Muslim cycling commentator Abdul Al Salaam concerning the mechanics of his kick. Abdul had been vocal about the Garmin rider becoming more Arabian stallion than camel.
Farrar was made an honorary member of the Omani capital’s Muscat Cycling club. They’ll be meeting this Friday at the French embassy and doing the Cornish to Albustan ride. But Tyler will be busy doing a time trial that day.
Boasson Hagen is now the target wearing the leader’s red jersey and the odds-on favorite to take the overall win. After scooping the winner’s time bonuses, he has 10 second lead on Farrar and Daniele Bennati (Liquigas-Doimo)
Wednesday’s hilly 187km stage will be a pressure cooker for Sky but right now, Boasson Hagen is on track to snatch the podium in the inaugural Tour of Oman. The question will be what can Garmin and Liquigas do to destabilize Sky.
Twisted Spoke votes for old fashioned voodoo and witchcraft. A quick intensive in the basics of Qaher Al Jinn might be what Tyler Farrar needs. This will require a speed reading of the book of al-Ghazali, but results are almost guaranteed.