Peter Sagan powers to stage 3 victory in 2013 Tour of Oman
Today's 190 kilometer stage 3 of the 2013 Tour of Oman took the riders from Nakhal Fort to Wadi Dayqah Dam on a virtually flat route, which made most pro cycling analysts predict a sprint finish. Sagan had won a stage victory on the very same roads in last year's edition of the same race.
Today's breakaway group once again included fearless Bobbie Traksel of Team Champion System.
With approximately ten kilometers to the finish Team Astana, Team Omega Pharma-QuickStep and Team Sky Procycling moved to the front of the peloton in order to reel in the breakaway participants and prevent additional breakaway groups from forming.
About 500 meters from the finish Sagan powered away from the competition in his usual fashion and left other strong sprinters gasping for air. Sagan's move was so strong that he had time to sit up on his bike and deliver a winning salute to the great satisfaction of the spectators in Wadi Dayqah Dam who received a peloton, which was clearly exhausted after nearly five and a half hours in the saddles.
"I remembered the last kilometers of the stage (from his victory in last year's race) and my idea was to attack on the last ascent. What was unknown was what my competitors were thinking. Here at the Tour of Oman there are a lot of champions with different characteristics, each one could have his own hopes and try to attack," Sagan explained when asked to describe his strategy in today's stage.
"The high race rhythm of the final part of the stage didn’t give any freedom and this helped me. I'm really satisfied with this win, especially the way in which I got it."
Sagan now leads this year's Tour of Oman by 16 seconds to Gallopin. Van Avermaet is 26 seconds behind.
Team Saxo-Tinkoff's Alberto Contador finished in 4th position today and showed that he is serious about his proposed quest for the overall throne in the race. Expect him to make a move on the Green Mountain climb to the finish tomorrow.
Commenting on his chances in tomorrow's queen stage, Sagan said "The final ascent is a hard climb. I will wait for attacks from the general classification riders, both for the stage win and overall race leadership. I know it will be hard to keep the jersey, but above all, it will be a useful test allowing me to better understand my capabilities on these climbs."
Team BMC Racing's World Champion Philippe Gilbert said he is feeling good about his form for the upcoming spring classics of the 2013 season. "I thought it was good because it was about five hours and 20 minutes of racing. Even if it's not with high level, it was still five hours on the bike and that's most important," he said.