Rapido Guide – Tour of Oman 2018 – Stage 5

Rapido Guide – Tour of Oman 2018 – Stage 4

Course:

Stage 4’s 117.5km race from Yiti (Al Sifah) to the Ministry of Tourism is likely to be an explosive affair, with a shorter total distance and several punchy climbs which will force the favourites to attack hard in order to break the race apart. Yesterday’s stage provided some further insight as to who is best to watch out for on this testing course and it could be those same faces which end up deciding today’s outcome again.

Tour of Oman 2018 - Stage 4

Contenders:

Greg Van Avermaet is using this race as some final preparation ahead of the start of his classics campaign and he is already looking to be on track for some serious form once again this year. His showing yesterday was impressive, distancing a strong group of rivals in the final kilometre with ease and never really looking up against it when fighting for the stage honours. An expected frontrunner again today, it would be of little surprise to see him form part of an elite breakaway and see the stage out with another strong sprint finish. On such a short stage, he will need to make the race as hard as possible for his rivals, as there are several stronger sprinters who have the potential to survive with him to the final kilometres.

Fabio Felline suits this stage profile extremely well, and if he continues his rise to the sort of form which made him such a threat in the past, there is a good chance he can finish the day with a win here. He stayed in contention throughout Stage 2, already proving he can match the likes of Greg Van Avermaet for example, which shall give him the confidence to follow the key moves again here. One of the fastest riders most likely to feature at the end of the day, if he can make the cut, then it could be an easy surge to the line for him.

Alexander Kristoff performed impressively yesterday and is another rider who certainly looks to be building his form convincingly ahead of the spring classics which begin next month. On such a short stage, the likelihood of him making the moves increases, though the flip side of this is that many other are also more likely to survive; specifically those faster in a sprint finish.  Regardless, if he can make his rivals suffer, then we might get an early glimpse of what the next couple of months hold with a Alexander Kristoff versus Greg Van Avermaet sprint for the line.

Nathan Haas will believe he can win this stage in a similar fashion to Stage 2 earlier in the week, looking to pounce from an elite group of riders and get the jump on the likes of Greg Van Avermaet and a potential Alexander Kristoff. He needs the race to ditch the fastest riders in the bunch, but not at such an intensity that he suffers enough to give the classics focused riders the upper hand. Regardless, he is an intelligent rider and will know how to pace himself alongside the big names today, potentially doubling up on his current tally of wins this season already.

Others to consider are Alexey LutsenkoRui CostaMagnus Cort and Giovanni Visconti.

Outcome:

1st Fabio Felline 2nd Nathan Haas 3rd Alexander Kristoff

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Rapido Guide – Tour of Oman 2018 – Stage 5

Rapido Guide – Tour of Oman 2018 – Stage 3

Course:

As highlighted in yesterday’s preview, Nathan Haas was earmarked as a rider most likely to benefit from a tough finale and heavily reduced numbers heading into the finish, thus it was of little surprise to see him take a much deserved win in the end. Stage 3 is a 179.5km route from the German University of Technology to Wadi Dayqah Dam, featuring plenty of rolling terrain, with the majority of the focus upon the final few kilometres which culminate in an uphill dash to the line.

Tour of Oman 2018 - Stage 3

Contenders:

Greg Van Avermaet was a key protagonist during Stage 2 and there is no doubt that many would have backed the BMC rider to take the win from the reduced lead group, but the Belgian was well beaten by Haas unexpectedly. Regardless, today is another well suited opportunity to pursue victory and Avermaet is bound to find himself the favourite yet again. If he can stay in the lead group and get a clear run to the line, then it shall be a huge ask to deny the Belgian classics specialist for a second consecutive day.

Nathan Haas is now an interesting prospect in the contest for the overall victory and may emerge as a tough rider to relinquish his ownership of the leader’s jersey. If he so wishes, he can now look to ride defensively and even lean upon his rivals to chase down those who are considered a threat to everyone hoping to win 2018’s Tour of Oman. This is another day which plays to his strengths, and given his current form, he should not be discounted from doubling up here on Stage 3.

Søren Kragh Andersen was unfortunate enough to be snarled up by two separate accidents yesterday, the last of which was only 15km from the finish, meaning he waved goodbye to any chance of contesting the sprint. He does not seem to have been affected by these crashes though and shall be extremely motivated to seek redemption of sorts by working hard for the win here. If he does manage to make the cut, he could be the fastest man present and would surely lead the charge to the line home with ease.

Fabio Felline performed well yesterday, showcasing the talent we had seen little of during a disastrous 2017 season previously. The Italian rider is pleased with his return to action thus far, now sensing some semblance of form and eager to find himself atop the podium again soon. He is a tactically astute rider who often reads the race better than most from a breakaway or small bunch, meaning one well timed attack on the final slopes could be enough for Felline to take the win.

Others to consider are Magnus CortAlexander KristoffAlexey LutsenkoDries Devenyns and Giovanni Visconti.

Outcome:

1st Søren Kragh Andersen 2nd Greg Van Avermaet 3rd Fabio Felline

Rapido Guide – Tour of Oman 2018 – Stage 5

Rapido Guide – Tour of Oman 2018 – Stage 2

Course:

French rider Bryan Coquard took a surprise victory on the opening day of this year’s Tour of Oman, but with plenty of climbing and an uphill finish on Stage 2, the sprinters will have to work hard to fight for another bunch kick. The day’s ride from Sultan Qaboos University to Al Bustan totals 167km and features four categorised climbs along the way; the last of which appears around 5km from the finish. It is the wind which is likely to prove most decisive here, previously dictating whether an elite group forms under intense strain or a block headwind keeps the bunch together for a reduced sprint, either way it will prove influential once again. The final kilometres are bound to be hectic if the race begins to fracture, as riders attempt to calculate their best chances of winning, from either a late move or reduced bunch kick.

Tour of Oman 2018 - Stage 2

Contenders:

Fabio Felline fits this stage particularly well, and if already possessing decent form as believed, then he  will have several options as to how best he can approach the day with eyes on the win. Strong enough to join the breakaway if required, or fast enough to dominate a sprint of likely protagonists, Felline will have a tough time choosing which approach is best. Regardless, days tailored to his strengths like this are not that frequent throughout the season and there is no doubt he shall aim to make the most of it.

Greg Van Avermaet is gearing up for another big push at the Spring classics, which means testing the waters at some point during these early season forays into potential race winning form. The Belgian icon suits this day, but is another who could benefit equally from being part of a late move or keeping his powder dry for a small group sprinting to the line. We have seen how tough he is to beat for several seasons now when on top form, and even if he is only nearing this, he could emerge as the dominant force in the final moments of Stage 2.

Søren Kragh Andersen will favour this terrain and has previously secured a stage win at this race, hinting at what his condition is likely to be once again this year. One of the strongest riders here in a head to head charge to the line, the Dane will want to be ditched by plenty of other riders on the final climb of the day and he is bound to find allies hard to come by as a result. A strong team performance here will do him wonders, and if he can make the cut, then the sprint finish could be made to look a breeze by the youngster.

Nathan Haas is a rider the bunch would be foolish to allow an advantage late in the day, as on a course which plays to his strengths, he could prove extremely to difficult to pull back before the line. Though he did not manage to reach his ambitions at the Tour Down Under, he was certainly one of the strongest riders there and he will have carried this across to Oman with hopes of converting it into victory on this occasion. If the wind can do him a favour and thin the ranks out, Haas is a contender likely to benefit well  from it.

If the race does remain together for the most part, whether due to strong team management or a block headwind, the sprinters who are most capable of staying in touch to take the win are Nacer BouhanniGiacomo Nizzolo and Bryan Coquard.

Outcome:

1st Fabio Felline 2nd Søren Kragh Andersen 3rd Giacomo Nizzolo

Rapido Guide – Tour of Oman 2018 – Stage 5

Rapido Guide – Tour of Oman 2018 – Stage 1

Course:

Beginning with a 162.5km stage from Nizwa to Sultan Qaboos University, day one of this year’s Tour of Oman should be a chance for the sprinters to start with a bang. Though the roads rise somewhat after leaving the day’s start town, the second half of the stage is an extended descent which leads the peloton down to the finish, giving it the appearance of a day which the sprint teams shall be able to control easily enough. With the final turn coming at the flamme rouge, we should see a hotly contested sprint finish on wide roads, offering up a drag race amongst the best riders here.

Tour of Oman 2018 - Stage 1

Contenders:

Nacer Bouhanni is said to be undergoing a transformative experience these days, the hopes of many seeking to salvage the mercurial talent from the peloton’s most acquired taste in recent years, with signs positive so far. The provocative Frenchman mustered some encouraging signs during the Dubai Tour, though was unlucky enough to crash on the final bend of the last stage when looking well-positioned. His impressive turn of pace and ability to surf the wheels should serve him well amongst a pack lacking many dominant sprint trains, so should have eyes on the podium at the very least on Stage 1.

Mark Cavendish picked up a stage win during his recent time at the Dubai Tour and looks to be entering this race with a strong chance of collecting more early season victories. Though his support train has altered dramatically compared to last week, he will be able to rely on the talented young Scott Davies to position him safely during the final kilometre. A clear run at the line will be needed amongst a likely to be messy sprint, though years of experience do mean Cavendish knows how to handle himself by now.

Magnus Cort was unexpectedly strong last week and ended up on the podium behind eventual winner Elia Vivani, but he is another sprinter who shall see many of his key lieutenants leave him, as the team’s focus switches to climbing the general classification instead of sprints. However, Cort is not one who necessarily demands a committed leadout train and has previously performed well when having to look after himself, so will be confident of challenging for the win.

Adam Blythe surged late to push Elia Viviani close for the win on the final stage in Dubai, but had to settle for third as he just ran out of road before being able to overtake the Italian. With racing here likely to prove more attritional, Blythe could be able to draw closer to his faster rivals and take a surprise victory for himself.

Others to consider are Giacomo NizzoloAlexander Kristoff and Max Walscheid

Outcome:

1st Magnus Cort 2nd Mark Cavendish 3rd Adam Blythe

Oman

Rapido Guide: Tour of Oman Stage 6 Preview

Course:

The final day of 2016’s Tour of Oman should be one for the sprinters yet again, promising a blood and thunder finale poised to be decided by a drag race to the line. A total of 130.5km separate the riders from the start at The Wave Muscat to Matrah Corniche, encompassing two categorised climbs along the way before a rolling section which exits on to the flat final few kilometres.

Oman

Contenders:

Alexander Kristoff will be confident of picking up another early season win here, the Norwegian is in imperious form once again in the Middle East and will surely be the man to beat on Stage 6. Moreno Hofland was not far behind Kristoff a few days ago in the sprint finish and there is no reason to think he cannot at least equal this result with such a strong leadout team in support of him. Jean-Pierre Drucker might not be a pure sprinter, but given the amount of climbing apparent in the later stages of today, he should be considered as a potential podium contender at the very least.

Outcome:

1st Alexander Kristoff 2nd Moreno Hofland 3rd Jean-Pierre Drucker

Oman

Rapido Guide: Stage 5 Tour of Oman Preview

Course:

After the hectic finale of the previous day’s conclusion upon Green Mountain, Stage 5 will offer a chance for the strongmen and puncheurs to steal the limelight back once again and secure glory on the penultimate day of the Tour of Oman. This 119.5km stage features three ascents of Al Amerat, draining the legs of any contender, but the finale itself should be a sprint thanks to a flat affair leading into the finish.

Oman

Contenders:
Greg Van Avermaet is sure to view this as his best chance of taking a win in Oman, his form certainly supporting his claim to Stage 5 honours, while his team support will prove a potent asset when it matters most here. Tom Dumoulin seems to be riding himself into better condition from one day to the next, his prowess against tough climbs has improved tremendously within the last year and it would be foolish to exclude him from contention on Stage 5. Speaking of those who appear to be improving their form day after day in Oman, Edvald Boasson Hagen could be back in the mix once again and take another stage win from the anticipated reduced sprint. 

Outcome:

1st Greg Van Avermaet 2nd Edvald Boasson Hagen 3rd Tom Dumoulin

Oman

Rapido Guide: Tour of Oman Stage 4 Preview

Course:

The decisive Green Mountain finish is included once again at the Tour of Oman, poised to shake up the general classification by the end of day four. The preceding kilometres of this 177km stage are relatively simple enough and will no doubt give the breakaway time to do their thing before being caught around the base of Green Mountain. The ascent is 7.5km in length and has an agonising 10.7% average gradient, but the concluding 4km are what shall break the legs of many here; the roads reaching as high as 13% before the finish line is within view.

Omsn

Contenders:

Domenico Pozzovivo has encouraging form upon this testing climb and looks to be in fantastic condition so far in Oman, the Italian will be a strong contender on a finale which plays to his strengths convincingly so. His AG2R La Mondiale teammate Romain Bardet offers a strong dynamic between the two of them on this crucial stage, perhaps one attacking first in order to allow the other to follow on the coat-tails of their rivals; Bardet will need to be watched for sure. Vincenzo Nibali has given us a small indication of his form so far here and will be all too aware that he only needs a few seconds to secure the leader’s jersey today on stage which is within is abilities to perform upon. Other riders such as Serge PauwelsDan Martin and Jacques Janse van Rensburg are worth keeping an eye upon too.

Outcome:

1st Domenico Pozzovivo 2nd Dan Martin 3rd Romain Bardet