Alexander Kristoff puts the finishing touch
Team KATUSHA leader Alexander Kristoff put the finishing touch in the Tour of Oman, taking a nice victory in the final stage of the race (The Wave Muscat ? Matrah Corniche, 130,5 km).
In the final sprint Kristoff overpassed two Giant-Alpecin riders, Zico Waeytens and S?ren Kragh Andersen.
– I felt good, but also the team was super strong today. Dima (Kozonchuk) did an excellent job the whole day in front of the peloton, holding the break at 2 minutes and saving the energy for the other teammates. Coming on the local laps, we had Jurgen (Van den Broeck) and Pavel (Kochetkov) who worked well. In the last lap there were some attacks in front, but Michael (M?rk?v) and Marco (Haller) controlled everything. In the final Marco again did a phenomenal job from 2 km to the last 500 meters, while later it was Jacopo Guarnieri, who leaded me out really well until 200 meters to go. For me it was just a quesrion of keeping the speed and finalizing this day with a victory, – said Alexander Kristoff.
Team KATUSHA started to control the race from the very first km. The breakaway of the day never had a too big gap, while with 5 km to go the break was completely neutralized.
– I am so happy for Alex and for the team today. We started to work from km zero and continued to control the race until the finish line. The stage victory was our goal for today. We knew it would be possible and we were motivated. All the guys did their best today, they had 100% concentration and I liked it very much. We knew the last climb could be a hard moment for Alex, but our tactics worked out well. I can only congratulate all riders and staff we have here in the Middle East. We spent really nice two weeks, – said sports director Torsten Schmidt.
The winner of the final general classification became Italian Champion Vincenzo Nibali from Astana. Second place in GC took Romain Bardet from AG2R La Mondiale (+0.15), while the final podium was completed by Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) (+0.24). The best KATUSHA rider in the general classification is Jurgen Van den Broeck with a 14th place (+2.49).
Team KATUSHA ends the Middle East campaign with 5 victories (3 stage wins in the Tour of Qatar and 2 stage wins in the Tour of Oman). Now the team is really focused on the coming classic season.
– We already have five wins this season and this is a great start for us. For sure, we are coming now for the classics with confidence. I think we are ready. The team looks strong and we will be at top level there, – added Alexander Kristoff.
– Now we are looking forward to the upcoming classic season. Having five victories in the pocket we are confident, but, of course, we are still in the beginning of our way and we will take it step by step. Next week we will have already some ambitions in Belgium. We are all very excited to start the classic season, – said Torsten Schmidt.