The Wolfpack again in the mix
Saturday brought the first test for the general classification contenders – the short but hard Qurayyat climb, which featured for the fourth time at the Middle Eastern race. Just as in the past, there were no big gaps at the end of the day and the difference was made inside the final kilometers of the 2.8km ascent, just as the gradient stiffened.
The victory went to Anthon Charmig (Uno X), who attacked 300 meters from home from a small group comprising around a dozen riders. A valiant effort saw Fausto Masnada come home as Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s best rider, just outside the podium and only four seconds behind the winner – a result made even more impressive considering it’s the Italian’s first race of the season after a long training camp. He was followed a couple of seconds later by Swiss all-rounder Mauro Schmid, who finished tenth.
Mark Cavendish remained in the green jersey, where he holds an eight-point lead over his closest competitor ahead of Sunday’s stage to Muscat, which comprises five classified climbs, the last of these topping with just 16 kilometers to go.
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