Alexander Kristoff wins in Naseem Park
It was another nice winning story for Team KATUSHA and Alexander Kristoff in the Middle East. Kristoff won stage 3 of the Tour of Oman with finish at the Naseem Park not far away from country capital Muscat.
In the final sprint KATUSHA?s top sprinter overpassed Moreno Hofland from LottoNL-Jumbo and Roy Jans from Wanty ? Groupe Gobert.
– Of course, all in the peloton looked at us, so we had to take control of the race from the beginning. We did it together with Dimension Data, because they protected Edvald (Boasson Hagen) and his race lead. Everything went ok, but with more or less 5 km to go, my last lead-out man Jacopo Guarnieri punctured. So we had to play the game a little bit smart. Marco (Haller) did a great job in front, and later he pulled out until the mark of 500 meters to go. Actually, he did a work for two. Later it was Michael (M?rk?v), who did the last lead-out until 200 meters to go. When I started my sprint, no one was able to pass me any more. I happy with this victory. From the one side we lost one important guy before the finish, from the other hand, we showed we could be very flexible in the final mix, and this is really great. It was a bit raining today, but I was ok with this weather. The only thing I was scared about was the slippery road in the final, but fortunately the road was dry, – explained Alexander Kristoff.
For Alexander Kristoff and Team KATUSHA it is already the fourth victory in the Middle East after three stage wins at the Tour of Qatar last week.
Stage 3 of the race started at Al Sawadi Beach and finished after 176,5 km near the central entrance to the Naseem Park. The race was affected by a – for Oman – surprising rain. Five riders made the daily breakaway after only few kilometers from the start, but Team KATUSHA and Team Dimension Data did everything to control it. So, the break was completely neutralized with more or less 10 km to go. A strong powerful sprint at the finish brought another beautiful victory to Team KATUSHA.
– It was nice for the guys to win, because we did not have so many chances to come to the sprint so far. This stage was ideal for us and already in Qatar we talked with the riders about this stage, so we were very motivated today. I saw a really great team work, the boys did a strong race and, of course, Alex did an excellent sprint to take another nice victory. The other teams looked at us today, but that’s normal when your team already won three races in the last week. We were ready for that pressure on our shoulders. In the same time it is a nice feeling to be a leading team and to win, – said sports director Torsten Schmidt, who celebrated his 44th birthday.
– I want to congratulate our sports director Torsten Schmidt on his birthday. Actually, it was the best way to celebrate him and we did it! ? added Alexander Kristoff.
In general classification Norwegian Champion Edvald Boasson Hagen from Team Dimension Data still holds the lead, while KATUSHA?s Jurgen Van den Broeck is 13th, 26 seconds behind.
Tomorrow will be held the queen?s stage of the Tour of Oman ? 177 km from Knowledge Oasis Muscat to the famous climb Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountain).