Masnada solos to victory in Oman

Masnada solos to victory in Oman

Fausto Masnada wrote history for the Wolfpack, becoming the 100th different rider in the history of the team to get a victory. A member of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl since mid-2020, Fausto capped off an amazing team effort after a fantastic day of full gas racing by taking this memorable success that propelled him straight to the top of the general classification with two stages remaining.

On a short stage of just under 120 kilometers, the Wolfpack fired on all cylinders, going on the attack from the distance with Mauro Schmid, who went clear after the first hour of racing. By that point, the bunch had already been ripped to pieces by the big tempo, tough gradients and hard wind, and Mauro kept pushing hard even after being joined by a trio of riders. At the second ascent of the Al Jabal Street climb, the powerful Swiss rode clear of his companions and quickly turned what was a minimum advantage into a 30-second lead over a pack which was again disintegrating.

Behind, the small chasing group, featuring teammate Fausto Masnada, was caught by a larger one that managed to make the junction on a flat section. But despite their efforts Mauro carried a hefty lead as he went one last time up Al Jabal Street (3.2km, 6.8%), where the biting gradient and the huge effort he had put in began to take their toll, and the 22-year-old got caught and distanced by a lone attacker just 600 meters from the top. But he didn’t wave the flag and remained in the select group that numbered just five men and even did a few pulls that helped them overhaul the leader with 12 kilometers to go.

As soon as that happened, Fausto Masnada flew away and went all-out on the long, straight roads to Muscat, while his teammate shut down several attacks, helping the Italian increase his advantage. Without ever looking back, Masnada kept pushing the pedal to the metal and arrived alone at the finish, with a huge lead over the chasers. How much the victory meant to him was clear on his face, as Fausto crossed the line and joyously celebrated his first success in almost three years together with the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl staff.

It’s my first victory for the Wolfpack and I can’t tell you how much I wanted to get a win for the team!

“Today was such a hard stage, but we rode as a team and that’s what made the difference in the end. Mauro did an amazing race, he was superb today, attacking and putting pressure on the others, before helping me in the final part of the stage, after getting caught. I can’t thank him enough for his effort and great job!”

“I knew that the descent would be important, a key point of the race, and that’s where I made the move. I tried just one time and it turned out to be the right moment. As soon as a gap opened, I just pushed as hard as possible to increase my lead. I worked hard the entire winter, so to be rewarded for it with a win so early in the season feels incredible. The fact that now I also have the red jersey on my shoulders it’s a big bonus. Monday we will try to do our best to defend this jersey”, said Fausto, who carries a 55-second lead going into the penultimate stage.

The Wolfpack’s perfect day in Oman was rounded out by Mauro Schmid sprinting to second place from the chasing group that came more than a minute later and Mark Cavendish retaining his green jersey, which he owns since his spectacular stage 2 victory.


Photo credit: ©Dario Belingheri / Getty Images

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