2.21.2014

Tour of Oman 4: the first fireworks

The break-away
Exciting stage this one! After just 9 km Agnoli, Westra (both AST) and Fischer (FDJ) break away but the pack bunches up again at km 15. Immediately four men attack and get a gap. They are: Huffman (AST), Popovych (TFR), Van Avermaet (BMC) and Wallays (TSV). The break resists till the hills.
The toilet :P
"The try by Agnoli to go in the break could mean Nibali has prepared something for the last climbs" I tweet.
And the climbs came. Many dropped, Andy Schleck included. Not a good sign but no panic. That's where he stands and it's better to know for him and his team.
 Dropped also the race leader Greipel and the White Jersey Howard.
Atop the  3rd climb, Van Avermaet leads, 18" ahead of Nieve (Sky) who counterattacked from the bunch. But they are quickly caught. Now  two riders take off : Froome and Uran. It seems the decisive move but no: they are also caught and a group of 40 riders is in front.
If I got it right, it's in the descent that Sagan, Nibali and Uran launch the last attack. And they go ahead. Sagan wins - he was the favourite today. But I was right: Vincenzo Nibaly gave it a try.
Frank Schleck finished 17 today Andy Schleck 86 at 17'04''.


What Froome said:
“When we hit those laps of the climb, Danny [Pate] got us into position and then David [Lopez], Dario [Cataldo] and Kosta [Siutsou] kept a steady tempo at the head of the race. Mikel [Nieve] put in a well-timed attack on the third ascent and hauled back the remnants of that break before getting a good gap of his own. It was unfortunate though that he hit a headwind and bunch were able to bring him back in before the final climb of the day. That was when me and Sergio [Henao] took it in turns to try and sneak off the front, and I managed it with Rigo shortly after we’d crested the summit. The headwind meant we couldn’t get much of a gap either though, and as hard as we tried, we couldn’t stay away on the descent. Sagan, Nibali and Uran went again when the road flattened out but those of us left in the peloton worked well together and they were only a few seconds ahead at the end. Tomorrow’s stage should suit us well because we have a strong group of climbers here. We spent a lot of energy today, but a lot of other teams did too, so that’d shouldn’t be a massive factor. With the GC being as tight as it is, it’s all still to play for, definitely. It’s going to be a hard day, and although we’re not racing under any real pressure here, I still want to try and defend my title. That said, when you look at the bigger picture, it’s not the be all and end all, so we’ll give it our best and see what happens."


What Uran said:
"Sagan attacked on top of the last climb. I chased on the downhill and I caught him, and Nibali followed me. I knew probably I would be beaten by Sagan, but the goal was to try and gain a few seconds on the GC guys. Because today I saw we had 20 to 25 strong riders on the climb, so I tried to gain some time on them. We really collaborated well on the downhill and then the flat part to the finish, but there was a roundabout at 2km to go, and we took the wrong way, all three of us. Then we lost a few seconds, so we arrived with only a few seconds advantage over the rest of the guys. But OK, Sagan won and I am second. I think we did a good race. It's a shame we didn't gain a few seconds more, but that's racing. In any case I am happy and feeling good. I was there on the climbs and even followed a few attacks. The team was very good and we will see what will happen tomorrow in the queen stage. It will be a difficult with a lot of strong riders at the same level of fitness, so we will see what can happen."

About Andy Schleck: 
“Andy was empty after 140kms,” explained Andersen, “which is not a big surprise for me, for this moment. He simply needs more race days.”
“Of course," echoed Fränk, "He has not raced yet, he is missing one race, but we all could see he has the good push and that he just needs the race kilometers. Andy is good. He is in a good way - on the right track.
..............................................................
Tweet of the day
3h
for todays toilet some climbing skills are necessary.
 .....................
The winner

RESULTS
Full results here: http://www.procyclingstats.com/race/Tour_of_Oman_2014_Stage_4_Ministry_of_Housing
STAGE

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
2 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana
4 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge
5 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Belisol
GC
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
2 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma-QuickStep 0:00:10
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana 0:00:14

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