UAE Team Emirates rider Alexander Kristoff wins final stage of Tour of Oman

David Cooper 18/02/2018
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UAE Team Emirates rider Alexander Kristoff won Sunday’s sixth and final stage as Alexey Lutsenko clinched overall victory at the Tour of Oman.

Reigning European champion Kristoff sprinted to victory along the Muscat corniche, a hair ahead of France’s Bryan Coquard and Giamco Nizzolo of Italy in a little over three hours on the 135.5km course.

And the bunch sprint finish meant overnight leader Lutsenko held on to claim overall victory with Astana team-mate Miguel Moreno of Colombia second and Spaniard Gorka Insausti third.

“I’m very happy to have won my first victory with UAE Team Emirates,” said Kristoff. “I feel so much faith from the team and I’ve always had strong men at my side in these first races of the season.

“I enjoy this finish a lot. I won already here in 2016 and 2017, so I knew that today would be an optimum chance to succeed.”

In the final overall classification, Rui Costa finished in 10th place, 1 minute 37 seconds behind race winner Lutsenko.

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UAE Team Emirates' Alexander Kristoff finishes seventh on first stage of Tour of Oman

David Cooper 13/02/2018
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UAE Team Emirates’ Alexander Kristoff produced another scintillating ride to grab seventh place on stage one of the Tour of Oman on Tuesday.

It was the reigning European champion’s fifth successive top-10 finish in a week – after a consistent showing at the Dubai Tour last week.

The Norwegian joined the counter-attacking group early on in the race and was successful in tackling the high-speed finish after overcoming three other riders to narrowly miss out on a top five place.

French cyclist Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept) won the first stage, edging out Mark Cavendish and Giacomo Nizzolo in the final sprint.

Coquard cycled the 162.5km route from the city of Nizwa to Sultan Qaboos University campus in the capital Muscat, in just under four hours.

Former world champion Rui Costa, who finished in 36th place, said stage one was not too difficult as the riders gear up for a gruelling 167.5km stretch featuring four classified climbs from Muscat to Al Bustan on Wednesday.

He said: “The stage in Oman was not too demanding, so probably not a hard test for the bike either. However the course for stage two will be hilly and I’m sure then new bike will perform well and support me as I aim to achieve a positive result.”

Meanwhile, Marco Marcato (56th), Przemyslaw Niemiec (94th), Kristijan Durasek (104th), Roberto Ferrari (105th) and Oliviero Troia (110th) were among the other finishers for UAE Team Emirates.

Elsewhere, Dan Martin will make his highly anticipated race debut for the team in Portugal on Wednesday, as the 31-year-old Irishman takes part in the Volta ao Algarve alongside a strong line-up of riders.

Also making his first start will be Rory Sutherland of Australia, who is determined to use his 15 years experience to support Martin in his quest for the yellow jersey.

Martin, a Tour de France stage winner in 2013, will compete in southern Portugal alongside team-mates Ben Swift, Jan Polanc, Vegard Stake Laengen, Valerio Conti and Edward Ravasi.

Martin said: “I have a mixture of nerves and excitement going to Portugal. There is always anxiety to get back to racing and find out where the fitness levels are, but I feel good and have trained well over the winter months, but racing is of course always different.

“It will take time to learn how to race well together, but we have already completed two nice training camps where we have got to know each other.

“I’m confident that we have a very strong team coming to Algarve, so I can’t wait to get started.”

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Alexander Kristoff and Rui Costa to star for UAE Team Emirates at Tour of Oman

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UAE Team Emirates’ Alexander Kristoff will continue his cycling season in the Middle East this week and will be joined by former World Champion Rui Costa as the pair tackle the Tour of Oman which gets underway on Tuesday.

Kristoff, who competed at the Dubai Tour last week, will be looking to build on his series of consistent performances, alongside Rui Costa, who himself will be bidding for a podium place at the tour where he finished second in the General Classification last year.

Joining the Norwegian and Portuguese stars are team mates: Kristijan Durasek (Croatia), Roberto Ferrari (Italy), Marco Marcato (Italy), Oliviero Troia (Italy) and Przemyslaw Niemiec (Poland).

Commenting ahead of the first stage of the race, reigning European champion Kristoff said: “The Tour of Oman will be the second race of the season for me, coming between the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Tours.

“Traditionally, I have done well in Oman with seven stage victories here during my career. I would like to continue achieving good results in a race that is suited to my strengths and style.

Costa, winner of last year’s Abu Dhabi Tour, added: “In 2017, the Tour of Oman was an essential step in taking the victory at the Abu Dhabi Tour.

I hope I can be competitive this year as well, even though when I got back from Australia I wasn’t able to train very well for a few days due to a cold.”

Tuesday’s opening race will see riders navigate a 162km route through inland Oman, before heading to the coast for a finish at Sultan Qaboos University.

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