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"For the downhill, I told the mechanics to put a 55-tooth on the front because I planned this attack for two days, even longer. I’m happy with it."

Photo: Etixx-QuickStep / Tim De Waele

AG2R LA MONDIALE

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BOB JUNGELS

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BORA-HANSGROHE

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CCC DEVELOPMENT TEAM

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DANIEL MARTIN

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DAVIDE REBELLIN

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DECEUNINCK - QUICK-STEP

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DIMENSION DATA

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EDUARDO SEPULVEDA

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EDVALD BOASSON HAGEN

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GEORGE BENNETT

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GREG VAN AVERMAET

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JURGEN VAN DEN BROECK

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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KENNY DE HAES

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MARCO MARCATO

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MIKE TEUNISSEN

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MORENO HOFLAND

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PATRICK KONRAD

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RICHIE PORTE

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ROMAIN BARDET

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RUI ALBERTO FARIA DA COSTA

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SERGE PAUWELS

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SPORT VLAANDEREN - BALOISE

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SØREN KRAGH ANDERSEN

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TEAM JUMBO-VISMA

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TEAM SUNWEB

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TOM DUMOULIN

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TOUR OF OMAN

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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WANTY - GROUPE GOBERT

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16.02.2016 @ 19:27 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Bob Jungels confirmed that Etixx-QuickStep have made a coup by signing the talented Luxembourger when he claimed his first win in his new colours on the first stage of the Tour of Oman. Having made it into a 16-rider front group on the final climb, he attacked with 2km to go and managed to hold off lone chaser Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r) to take both the stage victory and the overall lead.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Bob Jungels: I had planned this victory for two days, even longer

Etixx – Quick-Step's 9th success of 2016 was recorded on the inaugural stage of the Tour of Oman (Oman Exhibition Center – Al Busan, 145.5 km), and it came as a result of a gutsy attack of Bob Jungels in the last kilometers, which saw the 23-year-old power away from the bunch and celebrate his maiden win of the season, taking the general, points and youth classification lead.

 

Inside the final two kilometers, on a downhill section, Bob Jungels attacked and took advantage of his time trialling skills, which allowed him to enter with a handful of seconds in the last kilometer, one that had a flat section, followed by a slight uphill. The Luxembourg champion never looked back and arrived alone at the line, where he claimed the squad's 9th win in the space of four weeks. He also became the fourth newcomer in the Etixx – Quick-Step team to taste success in 2016, after Fernando Gaviria, Marcel Kittel and Daniel Martin.

 

"I felt strong, had good legs and was very motivated coming into the race after riding Valenciana. The team did a great job controlling the stage, one which we knew after doing a recon on Monday. We noticed that the descent can be the ideal terrain to attack, so I talked with the team and decided together with the mechanics to use a 55-tooth chainring on my bike, which proved to be really helpful, because I could slip away on that fast downhill", said Bob Jungels after his first victory in almost eight months.

 

”It's a great moment, and I'm very happy not only for this win, but also because I managed to repay the confidence Etixx – Quick-Step has put in me from the moment it brought me to the team.

 

“We did the recon yesterday and I felt that I had good legs up here. It’s a climb that suits me as well, it’s not too steep and Astana set a good pace. For the downhill, I told the mechanics to put a 55-tooth on the front because I planned this attack for two days, even longer. I’m happy with it.

 

“I knew that the legs were good. I saw it in Valencia last week actually but I missed the road a little bit there, but it was a similar style of race today.”

 

“I think the style of riding suits me better, to be more aggressive in the race. But maybe I was also less confident myself. I have more confidence this year, although I don’t know if it comes from the team or if it’s just a feeling because I’m growing and getting stronger. I always had my freedom at Trek as well. Maybe it was more a team for GC so it’s just different here.”

 

“For us the most important is that we have a reason to celebrate at night, so it doesn’t matter if I win or if somebody else wins. Almost all of the new riders on the team have won a race now and that’s a pretty good sign. And of course it’s always nice to confirm that they didn’t sign you for nothing.”

 

"It's going to be hard to defend the jersey over the next stages, because the parcours is demanding, but I will give it my all to keep the lead.

 

“My objective was to win a stage, or at least be close, so I’ve done that now. Maybe already tomorrow it’s going to be hard to defend it but I will do my best. We have Dan Martin who could be really good on Green Mountain later in the week, he’s better for the longer, steeper climbs. We’ll try to hold the jersey as long as we can.”

 

"We were thinking of this stage for some time now, so that's why we had Iljo Keisse at the front of the peloton to control the break, which he did, together with BMC. The last climb was a steep one that we knew well, as we did a recon of it yesterday. With the top coming just a couple of kilometers from the finish, we had to do something. As Gianni [Meersman], our fast man for the race, wasn't in the main group anymore, Bob could go for the win. He used a big gear and managed to get a nice gap, which brought him the victory. He's leading the race, and we will take it day by day and see what happens", said sport director Rik van Slycke of Jungels, who now holds a 10-second gap over Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) and of 14 seconds on Romain Bardet (AG2R), the riders who round out the overall podium after stage one.

 

Dan Martin suffering from cold in Oman

Bob Jungels’ teammate Dan Martin finished in the first chase group.

 

 “I’ve got a niggling cough going on at the moment so the lungs are hurting a bit today,” he told Cyclingnews. “But if I could stay up there on that climb, then hopefully it’s going to get better as the week goes on.”

 

Serge Pauwels takes second place by accident in Oman

The Tour of Oman got off to a near perfect start for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka as Serge Pauwels come home in 2nd place, a few seconds behind Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quickstep). Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) was 3rd with Edvald Boasson Hagen in 4th.

 

The pace was on, going up the first drag which saw a number of big name riders distanced. The African Team took advantage of the situation by helping to drive the pace to the final climb which began with 5km to go. Pauwels and Boasson Hagen were accompanied by teammates Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Merhawi Kudus and Nathan Haas on the final kicker as a flurry of attacks shattered the peloton.

 

Over the top it was all strung out but on the descent it regrouped somewhat with Pauwels, Boasson Hagen and Janse van Rensburg making the front split of 16 riders. Kudus and Haas were in a small 2nd chase group. It was with 2km to go that Jungels threw caution to wind with a solo attack. Pauwels tried to put in a big turn on the front to bring the lone leader back but he ended up getting a gap on the group. The Belgian put his head down but couldn't quite get onto the wheel of the Etixx rider before the line arrived. Jungels took a solo win, 6 seconds ahead of Pauwels, Bardet brought the chase group home in 3rd just 2 seconds later, after also putting in a late solo surge.

 

Pauwels now sits 2nd on both the general classification and in the points competition after stage 1. With Boasson Hagen in 4th place today and Janse van Rensburg also finishing with the select front group in 14th, Dimension Data for Qhubeka go into the rest of the week's racing in a strong position.

 

”There was a big selection on the last climb and I wasn't actually in a great position at the bottom, so I was always just behind the leaders,” Pauwels said. “I got back to the front group with Jacques on the descent at around 3km to go. The group split again going through a corner and when Jacques and I got back to the front there was only 1.5km to go. I wanted to do one good pull after the last roundabout for Edvald but nobody followed my wheel and so I kept chasing Jungels myself. Unfortunately, I could not catch his wheel in the end. ”


”It was a strong ride by all the boys today so we can be happy with our performance but we did miss the victory as well, and so we look forward to taking the top step in the upcoming days,” sports director Jean Pierre Heynderickx said.

 

Romain Bardet gets confidence boost from strong showing in Oman opener

Romain Bardet made a late attack that allowed him to take third place.

 

"I only had one day of racing in the legs (the GP La Marseillaise),” he said. “It was important to know where I was. This first stage allowed me to take stock of my form and I am really satisfied. The heat is not too oppressive, unlike other years. There were two pretty nervous climbs today and things were settled at the end of race. Generally I am nervous on the first stage of a stage race. Today that was not the case. The first day lived up to my expectations.”

 

Dumoulin close to victory on first race day, mechanical takes Kragh out of contention

The first climb saw the bunch split, but Tom Dumoulin managed to stay in contact with the group. The pace of the second climb increased significantly with many riders dropped from the first group, Tom Dumoulin remained with a select group of 16 riders and maintained his chances for a good result.

 

In his first race of the season, Tom Dumoulin made an impressive start finishing 5th, eight seconds behind the winner.

 

Team Giant-Alpecin Coach Luke Roberts said after the stage: “The plan today was to keep Tom Dumoulin in the first group and to see if Søren could stay in contact as well. After the first ascent, everything was going according to plan but Søren had a mechanical problem before the last climb and ended up being on the limit.

 

“On the last climb, the team weren’t in an ideal position, but Tom Dumoulin rode well and managed to stay in the first group. In the last kilometers, three riders got away and Tom Dumoulin was only beaten by Edvald Boasson Hagen in the group sprint.”

 

Greg Van Avermaet: I missed some teammate to keep the race under control

Greg Van Avermaet crossed the line in sixth place in the opening stage of the Tour of Oman, which saw Bob Jungels (Eitxx-Quickstep) take the win.

 

It was the short, but steep Al Jissah climb five kilometers before the finish which proved decisive, splitting the peloton and leaving a final lead group of 16 riders, including Van Avermaet.

 

Daniel Oss demonstrated fine form as the first rider to reach the top of the climb before the final run into the finish.

 

Jungels attacked with two kilometers to go to take the solo win, six seconds ahead of Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) and eight seconds ahead of Van Avermaet’s group.

 

“It was a really good stage for me, and I was hoping to win the stage,” explained Van Avermaet. “I was pretty good on the climb, I was third or fourth I think, but nobody wanted to control the race, and the other guys started to attack, and it was really hard to control. Three or four riders got away, and the race was over then. I was a little bit disappointed because I couldn’t sprint for the first place but it is like it is, it’s racing.

 

“I’m pretty good. Tomorrow is a pretty tough stage uphill; we’ll see how far I can go there. Maybe stage 5 is also good for me. We’ll see day by day, but I’m really happy with my form because I was there with some good climbers on a short climb. I think this is a positive point that I was not suffering too much to be with the best guys on a climb like that.”

 

Richie Porte: It was not unexpected that I lost time

In his first race since the Santos Tour Down Under three weeks ago, Richie Porte finished 3,24 minutes behind Jungels.

 

“It was quite a tough stage, it was fast, quite warm but it wasn’t unexpected that I lost time,” Porte said. “I’m not really here with any ambitions; I’d rather just try to get through the race and try to get some form out of it. It’s a great race to get the kilometres in the legs. For me the big target next is Paris-Nice. I’m just taking it day by day like we said from the start of it.

 

“I’m not feeling that fresh; I had a horrible journey here. It took a long time to get here from Australia with delayed flights and that sort of thing. I’m happy with the feeling but it’s just how it is. You can’t target every race in a year.”

 

Solid start for Rui Costa in tricky Tour of Oman opener

Rui Costa managed to stay with the best and reached the finish in seventh place.

 

"We had good signals regarding the team unity and the unity at crucial moments of the race,” said Lampre-Merida sports director Philippe Mauduit. “This right attitude has allowed us to survive the first climb of the day with all our riders and position ourselves at the bottom  of the ascent of Al Jissah. 
 

”Rui has benefited from the support of his teammates and found good climbing legs to stay with all of the big race favourites. Then Jungels made the winning move.”

 

Davide Rebellin confident after launching strong attack on final climb in Oman

Davide Rebellin has kicked off Tour of Oman with 8th place on the opening stage. The Italian arrived in the main 18-man group from which Bob Jungels attacked in the finale and took the win.  Simone Ponzi was the second CCC rider in the top 30 as he took 29th (0:40 back).

 

“The last 25 kilometers were extremely fast. I tried to attack on the second climb with Domenico Pozzovivo, but we got caught by a 15-man group. The final 5 kilometers were very lively and many riders wanted to pull away. I was unable to follow Jungels and had to settle for the sprint from a small group. I felt strong on the climbs and I’m hoping to improve my result on tomorrow’s stage with an uphill finish,” Rebellin said afterwards.

 

Breakthrough performance by young Topsport Vlaanderen climber in Oman

Floris De Tier confirmed that he is a future top climber as he managed to stay with the best and ended the race in 9th.

 

“9th today @tourofoman. I'm very happy! special thanks to my teammates nice teamwork boys,” he tweeted after the stage.

 

His Topsport Vlaanderen teammate Pieter Vanspeybrouck was in the break and Amaury Capiot took the sprints jersey.

 

Kazakh track rider makes his debut in hilly Oman opener

“It’s been a good day,” said Astana’s Dias Omirzakov. To ride with the pros is quite complicated but I'll get used to it quickly.

 

"My main goal is to get as much experience as possible and to prepare better for the track race.”

 

Astana had both Vincenzo Nibali and Jakob Fuglsang in the main group.

 

Austrian stage race talent targets top 10 after strong start in Oman

Patrick Konrad finished with all race favourites in 13th place after his Bora-Argon 18 teammate Christoph Pfingsten had beeen in the break.

 

"A big advantage for me was the course knowledge from last year. Some other riders seemed to have underestimated the finale, “Konrad told radsport-news.com. The team did a great job to position Emu (Emanuel Buchmann, ed.) and me optimally for the last climb of the day.

 

"I would like to confirm my result from last year [10th], and now I have the best conditions for it. And perhaps I can even make an improvement.”

 

"It was my job today to be in the front group. I was there. Unfortunately, the wind was not in our favour today. We almost always had a headwind. Thus, it was not so difficult for the peloton to catch us," Pfingsten told radsport-news.com. 

 

"I think that with Patrick in the first group we are now in a good position for the next stages.”

 

Jurgen Van den Broeck optimistic after solid Katusha debut in Oman

The 2.HC race Tour of Oman opened today with a 145.5 km stage from Oman Exhibition Center to Al Bustan. With this stage, Jurgen Van den Broeck made his debut for Team KATUSHA.

 

He reached the finish with the best in 16th place.

 

“I felt good, but not super yet. I think it is normal because this is my first race. So the stage was ok for me, but on the last climb I suffered a little bit and had to give everything to stay with the leaders. Fortunately I knew this climb. So I was not afraid to lose contact and I was sure to come back in the downhill. In that downhill I even wanted to try something, but I did not have enough power for that. In the end I am happy I was still there because there was not a big group anymore. I will try to do better day by day, we will see. It was a warm day, the first heat and it’s always a bit different, but is was ok for me. I am happy with my first day of the season,” said Jurgen Van den Broeck.

 

Marco Marcato disappointed after Oman opener

Marco Marcato was today's top finisher for Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 19th place, just outside of the first group.

 

"I thought I would be better," Marcato said honestly. "I was dropped at 100 metres from the top because I maybe did too much at the beginning of the climb to try and stay with the front of the peloton. The level here is really high but I still have time to grow. The team did a great job in protecting me all day."

 

Kenny Dehaes featured in the day's breakaway. "The knee is healing up well and not bothering me too much. It will be okay," he reacted.

 

LottoNL-Jumbo: We hoped that Moreno Hofland would survive the climb

Moreno Hofland was unable to survive the two tough climbs in the final the Tour of Oman stage one today. Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s sprinter fell behind quickly on the final uphill and lost his chance at a good result. Instead, Bob Jungles (Etixx-Quick Step) won the day.

 

The difficult final of the first stage did not stop Team LottoNL-Jumbo from making plans for its punchy sprinter Moreno Hofland. “It was our target to survive those two climbs with Moreno,” sports director Jan Boven. “If the pace dropped at the top of the first climb, we could have had a chance at that, but it didn’t happen unfortunately. Afterwards, Moreno exploded on the second climb.”

 

With Moreno out, Team LottoNL-Jumbo was not represented in the first group. Mike Teunissen and George Bennett finished 40 seconds behind Jungels. “Mike Teunissen and Moreno were together when Moreno was dropped,” Boven added. “Mike was allowed to go for his own chances afterwards. George has a free role in this stage race anyway, so he was already allowed to go his own way. Mike delivered a strong performance, which wasn’t a surprise because we know that he can do great things.”

 

 “I’m quite fast, but not a real bunch sprinter,” Teunissen explained. “That means that I have to aim for races like today’s. It was a tough race, but I want to deliver in races like this. I was together with George just behind the first group today and we were trying to get back in the front. We failed, unfortunately, but I am working on these types of finishes.”

 

The second stage of the Tour of Oman clearly will not suit Moreno Hofland. “We’ll finish tomorrow’s race with a tough final climb,” Boven said. “We haven’t raced that uphill before in the Tour of Oman. It’s definitely too hard for Moreno and probably too explosive for George, as well, but he must try to follow as long as possible.”

 

Eduardo Sepulveda crashes out of front group in Oman

Eduardo Sepúlveda, winner of a stage and second overall at the Tour de San Luis (Argentina) in January, joined his Fortuneo-Vital Concept teammates who did the Tour of Qatar, with the exception of Dan McLay whom he replaced. Having stayed with the leading group on the last climb, the leader crashed a few kilometers from the finish. Fortunately, he suffered no serious injuries but he crossed the line with a delay of 40 seconds to the winner. The French team had bad luck during this first stage but it should be remembered that before winning in San Luis, Eduardo Sepúlveda and his teammates had been taken down in a big crash. 

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