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The climbs of Stage 3 couldn't split the peloton Tuesday at the Tour of Oman. (Photo by Tim de Waele.)
The climbs of Stage 3 couldn't split the peloton Tuesday at the Tour of Oman. (Photo by Tim de Waele.)

Tour of Oman, Stage 3: Going On The Offensive

16. February 2010

Qurayyat, Oman

The BMC Racing Team went on the offensive during Tuesday’s Stage 3 of the Tour of Oman, hoping to use some much-anticipated climbs to its advantage.

Tried To Make Race Tougher

But the end result of a pair of vicious attacks near the start and the end of the 77-mile (124 km) race from Saifat Ash Shiekh to Qurayyat did little to change the overall standings. “We tried the first 25 kilometers to make the race a little tougher and there was a bit of a selection but not enough,” BMC Racing Team Director John Lelangue said. “We tried again on the final climb with 15 kilometers to go and there were some sprinters eliminated, but not enough to make a big selection.”

Kristoff Helped Burghardt, Schär
Lelangue said in the process of making the race as difficult as possible, the BMC Racing Team sacrificed a few of its own riders. Sprinter Alexander Kristoff was one of them. “I was a little bit too far back in the final climb, trying to help Michael Schär and Marcus Burghardt to the front,” Kristoff said. “It was not too fast if I had just been in a better position. I think I could have survived the climb, but I was dropped 200 meters from the top.” Lelangue said the broad, wide-open highway roads of the three categorized climbs also made them less selective. “It wasn’t like climbing on narrow roads in Europe,” he said. “The most important thing is that we tried, because on paper today was the most difficult stage.”

Time Trial Looms Large
By winning Tuesday’s stage in a field sprint that involved 93 of the race’s 125 riders, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky Pro Cycling Team) maintained his hold on the overall lead. With three stages to go, four of the BMC Racing Team’ eight riders (Alessandro Ballan, Burghardt, John Murphy and Schär) remain within 20 seconds of the lead. With a final day individual time trial looming large, Lelangue said protecting Ballan, Burghardt and Schär will be key to the team’s overall hopes for victory. “With those three guys, It’s clear we have to wait for the time trial on the last day to do something,” he said.

Looking Ahead To Stage 4
The longest stage of the race begins Wednesday in the western city of Ibri and travels through the foothills of the Al Hajar Mountains to Nakhal. Included along the 116-mile (187 km) route is a pair of categorized climbs and two intermediate sprints.