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“We came in with the hope to win a stage and we achieved that. We also hoped to make something in the GC with Julián and he finished in the top 10, not a bad result."

Photo: Muscat Municipality/Paumer/B.Bade

DANNY VAN POPPEL

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FABIAN CANCELLARA

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JULIAN DAVID ARREDONDO

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TOUR OF OMAN

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22.02.2015 @ 18:39 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The extreme heat of yesterday eased to a tolerable temperature for the final stage six of the Tour of Oman, although an unwelcomed wind still reared its head.

 

With the GC well sorted from Green Mountain it was a perfect setting for a breakaway and the attacks flew from the gun.  Less than 10 kilometers into the 133.5-kilometer stage the day’s escape group formed, and four men separated from the peloton. 

 

With no threat to the overall classification, the quartet built up a lead of 10 minutes in the favorable cross-tailwind before the sprinter teams revved their engines and began an earnest chase.

 

Katusha and Tinkoff-Saxo led the pursuit with Trek Factory Racing joining with hope for one last chance at a podium placing with Danny van Poppel, but the huge gap proved insurmountable. Arriving in the final kilometers with a handy lead the four men fought out the stage victory.

 

None of the three other breakaway compatriots could smother a late attack by Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling) and he soloed to a four-second win over Iljo Keisse (Etixx-Quick Step). Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) led home the peloton one minute and sixteen seconds later.

 

“Popo [Yaroslav Popovych] tried to go [in a breakaway], but they were caught and the right move went right afterward. At the end we helped pull, I knew it was a bit late, but what else could we do…we did not have the onus to lead the chase, that was up to the big sprinters’ teams,” explained director Dirk Demol. “If it ended in a sprint, we would have played the card of Danny.”

 

Boy van Poppel was the highest finisher for the team in 12th while the rest of the team completed the day and are more than ready for rest and recovery ahead of the highly anticipated Classics season.

 

“We passed the day, Julián [Arredondo] kept his ninth place, and there was not much more to say about today,” continued Demol.  “We came in with the hope to win a stage and we achieved that. We also hoped to make something in the GC with Julián and he finished in the top 10, not a bad result. He just missed a little bit at the end on Green Mountain - in the last few hundred meters he was almost standing still and lost like four or five spots.”

 

Tour of Oman continued where the Tour of Qatar left off with big battles fought in extreme weather that left the riders with exhaustion beyond what they experienced last year in the Middle East.

 

Dirk Demol summed up the racing this week: “It was an unbelievable hard race this week with the extreme heat. Yesterday was simply incredible, and when the peloton stopped in the shade under the big bridge tires were exploding from the heat. Yesterday was the right decision to cancel the race - all the riders were united in the decision and agreed to not race. I feel sorry for the organization, it was a pity, but there was no way to race in that kind of heat.

 

“Our guys like Greggy [Rast] and Popo who are used to riding in the cold struggled in the extreme heat here. There was also an unusual wind this year, and it was a very hard race, it really took a toll on the guys this year.  But we will recover from these races and be stronger for the Classics."

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