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BMC Racing Team's Martin Kohler (right) helped with the chase of the day's breakaway. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
BMC Racing Team's Martin Kohler (right) helped with the chase of the day's breakaway. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Tour of Oman, Stage 3: Staying In Contention

20. February 2014

The BMC Racing Team kept its leaders within striking distance of the overall lead Thursday at the Tour of Oman by finishing six riders in the leading group.

The Stage:
Starting at Bank Muscat and traveling 145 kilometers to Al Bustan, the stage featured two categorized climbs – both in the final 25 km – and two intermediate sprints.

The Day's Breakaway:
Kevin Ista (IAM Cycling), Martijn Maaskant (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team), and Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) spent nearly 130 kilometers in the lead while enjoying a maximum advantage of nearly four minutes. They were caught inside of 10 km to go.

Working Warrior Award:
One of the hardest working riders in the peloton was BMC Racing Team's Martin Kohler. The past Swiss national road and time trial champion spent the majority of the day on the front, assisting in the chase of the breakaway.

A Late Escape:
When the peloton topped the final climb, 6.5 km from the finish line, Christopher Froome (Team Sky) attacked and took three others with him: Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) and Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). But the quartet managed only a few seconds' advantage before being pulled back with one kilometer left.

The Podium:
Despite the uphill finish, André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) earned his second stage win ahead of Sagan and Nacer Bouhanni ( For the BMC Racing Team, past world road champion Philippe Gilbert finished 12th.

In The Overall Standings:
Greipel regained the overall lead and is eight seconds ahead of Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEDGE). Stage 2 winner Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha) is third, at 10 seconds. BMC Racing Team riders Gilbert (13th), Tejay van Garderen (17th), Greg Van Avermaet (23rd), Peter Velits (24th), Michael Schär (26th) and Dominik Nerz (27th) are among 67 riders who all stand 20 seconds off the lead.

What Greg Van Avermaet Said:
"In the descent, I tried to close the gap and we came back just before the climb. Philippe was in pretty good position, but it was maybe a little bit rough on the right."

What Sport Director Valerio Piva Said:
"It was very difficult to try something. Everybody came back in the strong headwind. A stage like this was normally good for us. We controlled the race with Martin Kohler. Not every race will be like this, but we tried together and we will try again tomorrow."

Looking Ahead:
Friday's stage is expected to be decisive to the overall. The 130-km race from Wadi Al Abiyad to the Ministry of Housing includes four trips up the climb of Bousher Alamrat, a 3.4-km ascent averaging 8.8 percent.

Listen to complete comments from Piva and Van Avermaet on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.

Watch behind-the-scenes videos on the BMC Racing Team's YouTube channel.

View photos from the race on the BMC Racing Team's Flickr gallery.