The 4th stage of the Tour of Oman was a riveting race which in the end, boiled down to a bunch gallop won by Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin). Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida) and Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) completed the podium. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka put in a rock solid performance with Nathan Haas taking 4th and Kristian Sbaragli in 6th.
It was a short and explosive day in Oman with the stage measured at only 118km. The climb of Bousher was tackled 3 times in the final 40km today and this would be where all the action of the day took place. An early break of 9 riders reached the first of the 3 ascents with just over a minute on the peloton but AG2R La Mondiale and our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders were really driving the pace from the peloton.
2nd time around, our efforts with AG2R had all but caught the escapees and at the same time the peloton had shrunk significantly under the pressure we were applying. On the final and decisive ascent of Bousher, which peaked with 14km to go to the finish, the attacks came flying. Over the top around 15 riders had gone clear, our white jersey of Merhawi Kudus in the mix, as well as our ace for the stage, Haas.
The chase group was not far behind though and despite the continued attacks from the leaders, Katusha was able to keep the leaders in sight as they aimed to bring the race back together for their sprinter, Kristoff. It was a nail-biting chase but in the end, it all came together on the final straight where Kristoff showed his speed. Haas and Sbaragli were right in the thick of it, taking 4th and 6th respectively. Mekseb Debesay was 15th, ensuring our African Team remained in 1st place in the team competition and Kudus had no problem keeping his white jersey by finishing in the peloton.
Nathan Haas – Rider
Today was a pretty incredible effort by the whole team to bring back the breakaway before the last climb. 3 huge climbs before a technical descent to a sprint finish is always going to be up my alley. I was really motivated for today but unfortunately a group with Kristoff and Colbrelli came back with 1km to go. Otherwise it was just myself and Van Avermaet going for the sprint. I put myself on a good wheel on Van Avermaet and I tried to hit out just after 300 meters to go to put myself in a winning position but Kristoff, just being faster, hats off to him for coming back and doing a great sprint. 4th is great, it’s a great result but we love winning and that is what we try to do. Tomorrow we will try again with the climbers up Green Mountain and take a good positive out of today which was another strong effort and another good result for the season.