The Etixx – Quick-Step riders took it easy on stage 3, which recorded the first bunch sprint of this year's edition.
Kenny Dehaes (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Jordan Kerby (Drapac), Ivar Slik (Roompot Oranje), Brian Van Goethem (Roompot Oranje) and Kenneth Van Rooy (Topsport Vlaanderen) were the riders who made a move at the beginning of Tour of Oman stage 3 (Al Sawadi Beach – Naseem Park, 176.5 km), one which had in store a not so challenging course, with just a short section of rolling terrain halfway through. Their maximum advantage was of four minutes, before the teams began slicing it as the finish line was coming closer and closer.
The escapees waved the flag with 15 kilometers to go, and the stage had the bunch sprint everyone was waiting for. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) was the fastest on the line, beating Moreno Hofland (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Roy Jans (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). Gianluca Brambilla, Etixx – Quick-Step's best placed rider in the overall standings in 12th place, arrived together with the pack, and now awaits with confidence Friday's stage, which is going to be the most important in GC terms.
Stage 4 will take the peloton up Jabal Al Akhdar (Green Mountain), a brutal climb which is being used by the organizers since the second edition. This year, for the first time, the riders will go up to 1435 meters, as the ascent is longer than in the past and will see the climbers put in a huge effort over the 7.5 kilometers that will average 10.7%.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele