Race summery courtesy of Matt Goss:
“The sprint was pretty crazy. Brownie took a few guys out I think and that kind of messed things up a bit,” said Goss. The HTC-Highroad sprinter was apparently frustrated with the lead-out Graeme Brown gave to victorious teammate Theo Bos (Rabobank)
With no television coverage or overhead cameras, it was anybody’s guess if there was some argy-bargy or bike boxing going on. We say throw the Bulldog of Bathhurst Mark Renshaw in there with a few head-butts to restore order. Things are getting crazy in the Big O, the Tour of Oman, Sinbad the Sailor’s favorite stage race.
Goss still owns the red jersey but his face was also turning red with anger. “Unfortunately most of us got ridden off the road in the last hundred meters or so and Bos and Bennati got a gap on us. But that’s racing,” said Goss. Depending on who took the quote, the variation added this detail: “that gave Bennati and Bos about 10-15 meters on us straight away.”
That’s pretty much all you need if you’re a former track world champion with speed to burn. Bos won his second stage in Oman, a sprint into the nearly deserted streets of Sur. Maybe all the spectators were inside watching the Middle East erupt in flames. DOn’t they know Eddy Merckx is in town!
While The Boss is officially re-retired, Theo Bos is starting to impose himself in these sprint finishes. “I stayed calm during the finale and I told the guys that if we got boxed in, we get got boxed in. It was difficult to get to the front and it didn’t work that well but then Brownie (Graeme Brown) went with 500 meters to go and I went with three hundred meters,” said Bos.
Brownie is an experienced hand at getting out of boxes — which is sometimes dangerous work for everyone involved. “He (Brown) is a strong sprinter and great in the finale. My problem is that I’m not such a good cyclist but I have a really good sprint,” Boss admitted. We suspect Brownie will get banged around very soon, peloton payback time. The fact is, the dominant HTC-Highroad train has plenty of competition this year with Garmin-Cervelo, Leopard-Trek, Sky, Omega Pharma and Liquigas all stepping up their game.
Speaking of Leopard, their sprinter Bennati now has six, count ’em. six podium places but no wins. True racing but even more, True Disappointment. No question the Italian has put it all together except some good luck. Gotta find a rabbit’s foot sponsor for the team.
Tomorrow, the sprints will be in the autobus as the climbers attack the Jabal al Akhdhar climb. An 8.5 kilometer twister with an average grade of medium painful and 10.3%. Some mid sections ramps and the final two kilometers hit 13.5%. WHoever wins the Green Mountain will have a strong shot at the red jersey of overall victory in the big O.
twisting climb to the line is 5.8km long at an average of 10.3 percent, somewhere between an uphill finish and a true mountain finish. The climb starts steadily but then includes a mid-section at 13.5 percent before a kilometer at 6 percent and then the final two kilometers at 13.5 percent.
Pre-Akhdhar favorites are Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Jakob Fuglsang (Leopard Trek) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) but we’re hoping Garmin-Cervelo’s CHristian Vande Velde puts in a solid ride and wins the final time trial. DOn’t rule out teammate Cameron Meyer, either.