photo credits @ Tour of Oman
After coming close to victory in Qurayyat and Al Hamra, Diego Ulissi rose his arms in triumph, after winning stage 4 of the Tour of Oman today, the longest of this year’s race that finished with an explosive finale following a couple of challenging ascents during the closing 10 kilometers.
Pascal Ackermann, Ulissi’s teammate, went on the move during the final climbs, until he was caught during the last 2 kilometers. It was then time for the Italian puncheur to display his power and take victory ahead of Axel Zingle (Cofidis) and Ide Schelling (Bora-Hansgrohe), while Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) retained the leader’s red jersey. After a week of racing in the Sultanate, a final challenge awaits the riders: the mighty climb up Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountain), where the overall winner of the Tour of Oman will be crowned.
The attackers went on the move from the outset of today’s stage that departed from Izki, with Jeroen Meijers (Terengganu Polygon) capitalizing on the breakaway in defense of his golden jersey as the leader of the most aggressive rider classification.
Two hours of battle for the break
But everyone got back together ahead of the first intermediate sprint (km 52.4), with Fredrik Dversnes seizing the opportunity to take 3 points and the lead of the virtual standings against Meijers (13 pts vs 11).
From there, it took two hours of racing at 47.3km/h for a group of attackers to eventually ride clear, with Dversnes making his way back to the front after he was reeled in by the bunch, as well as the U23 World Champion Yevgeniy Fedorov (Astana Qazaqstan), Urko Berrade (Kern Pharma) and the winner of the African Games Youcef Reguigui (Terengganu Polygon).
Movistar, Arkéa-Samsic and Cofidis work together
Heading into the last 100 kilometers, the quartet was still holding a lead of 3’40’’, while Jorgenson’s Movistar drove the peloton to defend the red jersey, eventually bringing the leaders’ gap down to around 2 minutes. Reguigui dominated the second intermediate sprint (49.2km to go) ahead of Dversnes, who extended his lead in the most aggressive rider classification, before dropping back to the bunch as his former breakaway companions enter the last 20 kilometers with a lead of 1’10’’.
Ackermann attacks, Ulissi delivers
Dversnes, Fedorov and Berrade were later caught at the bottom of the penultimate climb of the day, in Al Jissah (2.5km at 6.9%). Maxim Van Gils (Lotto Dstny) and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Qazaqstan) then set a brutal pace along the ascent, causing a small group to emerge at the front.
Ackermann decided to attack along the descent, quickly opening up an advantage of 25’’. But, he was caught inside the last 2 kilometers.
Ivan Cobo (Kern Pharma) then tried his luck, launching a counter-attack on the final ascent, only to be caught at the summit with just 1 kilometer to go.
From there, the stage began shaping up as a reduced bunch sprint, with Ulissi once again demonstrating his sprinting skills.
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