Peter Sagan claims second straight stage, leads Tour of Oman
MUSCAT, Oman (AP) -- Peter Sagan of Slovakia consolidated his overall lead at the Tour of Oman on Wednesday by finishing with a late burst to win a second straight stage.
The Cannondale rider finished the 118-mile trek from Nakhal Fort to Wadi Dayqah Dam in 5 hours, 6 minutes, 28 seconds.
Two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium, French cyclist Tony Gallopin and Marco Marcato of Italy were next.
Sagan holds a 16-second lead over Gallopin and a 26-second advantage over Van Avermaet to strengthen his grip on the leader's red jersey.
"My teammates did a great job of supporting me and this win is the deserved award of their efforts," Sagan said. "I remembered the last kilometers of the stage and my idea was to attack on the last ascent. What was unknown was what my competitors were thinking. Here at the Tour of Oman there are a lot of champions with different characteristics, each one could anticipate and try to attack. I'm really satisfied with this win, especially the way in which I got it."
The pack remained bunched up until the final stretch. With 4.4 miles to go, Australian rider Brett Lancaster went out first but was caught by a pack led by teams SKY and Cannondale. Heading up to the finish over the last 800 meters, Sagan made his move and hung on to the lead to the line.
It was another difficult day for Tour winner Bradley Wiggins, who finished 89th and 97 seconds behind Sagan. SKY teammate and Tour runner-up Christopher Froome dropped to 13th place overall, 36 seconds back from Sagan.
"Cannondale set a brutal pace up there and it was more like an uphill sprint that anything else," SKY sports director Nicolas Portal said. "Froomey wasn't able to follow the likes of Sagan, (Philippe) Gilbert and (Nacer) Bouhanni, so he maintained a steady tempo and then emptied the tank on the run in to the line. That was the plan and we executed it well. It's never nice to drop out of the top 10 but it's tomorrow's stage which is going to prove pivotal, and Froomey is in a great position heading into it."