Tour of Oman 5: Matthias Brändle Beats the Bunch

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The last stage was supposed to be for sprinters but some very fast wheel decided to steal it away. Matthias Brändle anticipated the bunch with Pate, Keisse, and Van Meirhaeghe. 
Then he anticipated everybody and won. 
Embedded image permalinkBunch beated, final stage done. A surprising last winner and also a very surprising overall first: Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida).

Matthias Brändle 
“It was a little bit like in [the Tour of] Britain: we were strong riders, we worked together and we had to do a bit of a team time trial and keep a good speed. We had to work together in the climbs to make sure that we didn’t push too hard in the climbs and in the end I was lucky that I was the strongest.
It was the thing that I was afraid of: Keisse’s ability in a sprint. That’s why I attacked him in the last climb because I saw that he was suffering a bit in the climbs. So I thought, don’t take a risk, try to drop him before the final and the percentage of winning will be higher if we go to a sprint.”

Iljo Keisse:
"We started with the headwind and at the beginning I could count on the help of Stijn to take the breakaway. Then we went in 4 and we took 10'. We had a good collaboration, then all day we had sidewind and tail wind, so we went pretty fast. In the final there were some climbs, but with the advantage we had, we knew that we would have gone for the victory. On the last small climb at more or less 3.5 kms to go Brandle went. I had a small mooment of difficulty and he took a good advantage. I tried to come back in the final, but I couldn't clsoe the gap. I knew Brandle was the most dangerous guy. He is a strong guy and broke the hour record a few months ago. But there was nothing more I could have done on the climb to stay with him. I gave it all. It's a pity because these kind of situations don't happen a lot for me during a season, so when the occasion is there you have to take it. In any case I want to see the glass as half full. I go back home in good condition, ready and motivated for the next European races."

Tejay van Garderen:
"Sometimes when you win, you get a little complacent and you think you are where you need to be. When you get second place, it lights a fire and gets you a bit more motivated. I am going to train hard this next week and stay on track. Hopefully, I can bump it up another level at Paris-Nice.
Embedded image permalink[About stage cancealed] I wasn't expecting that we were just going to win the race yesterday. But we definitely had a chance to and I would have liked to have tried, if for no other reason than to get a good race in my legs. We were here to race and I would have liked to have had the opportunity. But we have to live with it and go forward.
Sometimes it is funny in the first race of the year, getting to know everybody's riding style a bit. But we had no issues. Everything fell right into place. It was easy to follow the wheels. The team always knew what to do. It was super professional. It seems like we are already well into the middle of the season. There was very little I had to tell my teammates. They already knew what they had to do." 
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Louis Meintjes:
"I am really happy to win the white jersey. I think it's a good start to the season. The team was really awesome and we worked well together this week. Winning the white jersey has been a really good start, I just hope the momentum can continue now into the rest of the season."


1. Mathias Brandle
2. Iljo Keisse
3. Van Meirhaeghe
3. Danny Pate
1 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre - Merida 21:09:31
2 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:09
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:19
4 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:32
5 Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka 0:01:04
6 Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka 0:01:08
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:01:10
8 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:01:15
9 Julian Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:25
10 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Argon 18 0:01:36
11 Rui Alberto Costa (Por) Lampre - Merida 0:01:45
12 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:56
13 Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling 0:02:03
14 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:02:06
15 Wouter Poels (Bel) Team Sky 0:02:23
16 Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Bora-Argon 18 0:02:27
17 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team 0:02:35
18 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 0:02:37
19 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:02:57
20 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:03:23
General: RafaValls Ferri
Points: Andrea Guardini
Young: Louis Meintjes
Team: BMC ProTeam
Aggressivity: Jef Van Meirhaeghe

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