Peter Sagan takes season's first victory in stage 2 of Tour of Oman
Team Cannondale's Sagan beat Tony Gallopin of RadioShack-Leopard and Team IAM's Martin Elmiger when he counter-attacked about 1.5 kilometers from the finish line.
Today's 146 kilometer stage 2 of the 2013 Tour of Oman proved to be a demanding and intensive ride in the hot and sunny weather on the roads between Fanja-in-Bidbid and Al Bustan. The climax came in the final twenty kilometers where two small climbs tempted major riders such as Team Saxo-Tinkoff's Alberto Contador to test the condition of their legs and not least their competitors.
For the second day in a row Team Champion System's Bobbie Traksel formed the day's breakaway group together with a rider from Team Japan. Today his companion proved to be Tomohiro Kinoshita. The pair built a lead of no less than 6 minutes and 20 seconds, but the two riders were caught when the peloton approached the climbs.
The hard work from riders such as Contador, who launched a series of attacks, resulted in about fifty riders approaching the finish first. With about ten kilometers to go, Team Astana's Vincenzo Nibali together with Gallopin and Elmiger attacked from the peloton group and gained an advantage. Having completed about one kilometer of the second climb, Sagan decided to pursue the breakaway group as he realized that it was the place to be if he wanted to preserve his chance of winning the stage.
On the final climb, with about 1.5 kilometers of the stage to go, Sagan's body fired on all engines and it proved enough for him to escape the breakaway group and beat the rest of the Tour of Oman peloton. Sagan also took overall race lead from Team Argos-Shimano's Marcel Kittel who was left behind on today's mountains.
"10 kilometers from the finish, only a small group of riders remained and no one took the initiative. Then Nibali, Gallopin and Elmiger decided to speed up. After one km on the final ascent I decided to attack and pursue the break. When I got close to them, I decided to continue solo until the finish line. Everything went perfectly, which means my condition is improving,” a proud Sagan told Roadcycling.com after being celebrated on the podium in Oman.
Commenting on his participation in today's long breakaway, Traksel told Roadcycling.com "We had a bit of wind from the front on the big roads leading to the climb and the peloton was able to close a lot in the last ten kilometers before the climb. I think we only needed twenty or thirty seconds more and I would have had a chance to get over in front of the chase."
It was the first victory for Sagan's newly formed Team Cannondale Pro Cycling.
Tomorrow's stage 3 of the 2013 Tour of Oman is a 190 kilometer ride from Nakhal Fort to Wadi Dayqah Dam. A sprint finish is expected.