Gesink And Rabobank Triumph In The 2011 Tour Of Oman




Tour Of Oman

Tour Of Oman

Oman 21, February 2011: After comforting his overall leader’s Red Jersey when winning the time-trial, Robert Gesink conquered the 2nd edition of the Tour of Oman after yesterday’s final stage. The Dutchman wins the event ahead of Hagen and Visconti, while his team Rabobank can be well satisfied with 4 out of 6 stage wins. The final stage of the event was claimed by Mark Cavendish, outsprinting Galimzyanov and Guardini.

The picturesque city of Qurayyat, by the sea, welcomed the riders for the start of the final stage: a 157kms ride all the way to Muscat, including 7 laps of a final circuit on the Mattrah Seafront.

The 124 remaining riders took off just after noon and rapidly had to face a tough 4km climb at close to 6%. Immediately after the start, five men took off: Cassidy (SKT); the first to attack, Ratto (GEO), Burghardt (BMC), Krivstov (LAM) and Serry (TSV). After 5kms, the front men could count on a 1’45 lead, just before heading up the hill.

The five remained together all the way to the top while the pack broke up into several groups, with riders like Theo Bos (RAB) and Taylor Phinney (BMC) dropped behind. But the pack bunched up again shortly after the top. At the first intermediate sprint (km 31), claimed by Ratto ahead of Serry and Krivstov, the gap had reached a maximum 4’05. As the Rabobank, HTC-Highroad and Farnese riders moved to the front of the main field, the gap started dropping.

At the first passage on the line of the final 7km circuit, the leaders still had a 2’45 advantage. The second bonus sprint at the third passage on the line (km 115) was again won by Ratto ahead of Serry and Krivstov, while the pack remained 2’10 adrift. The chase carried on, and the gap continued dropping. With two laps to go, the front five only had a 38” lead and were finally caught at km 151, in the final lap. With four kilometres to go, a crash shook the pack and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), tenth overall hit the ground with several other riders.

On the final straight, for a last bunched sprint, Mark Cavendish (THR), well helped out by team mate Matthew Goss, powered to the line and captured his first stage victory this season. The HTC-Highroad sprinter beat Galimzyanov (KAT) and Guardini (FAR) to the line.

Finishing in the main pack, Robert Gesink (RAB) kept good control of his overall leader’s Red Jersey, winning this second edition of the Tour of Oman. In the final general classification, the Dutchman has a 1’13 lead over Hagen (SKY) and 1’19 over Visconti (FAR). Gesink also wins the White Jersey for the best young rider. The Green Jersey for points, goes to Edvald Boasson Hagen while Marko Kump (GEO) wins the most aggressive rider’s jersey.

Commenting in front of a packed crowd at the final trophy presentation in Al Inshirah Park, the Chairman of The Zubair Corporation, Mr. Rashad Al Zubair said: “Presenting the trophy at the conclusion of the race was a tremendous thrill for me. I consider it a great privilege to have the opportunity to support one of the biggest and most exciting international sporting events to be held in the Sultanate. Events of this calibre are a vital part of helping our country to promote its outstanding natural beauty and heritage to a wider audience.

“The Zubair Corporation has always been delighted to give its support to major events such as the Tour, and the greater Muscat Festival, with the same philosophy that underlies the daily operation of our award-winning Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa–to actively encourage more visitors to come and enjoy the many activities and rich culture the country has to offer, set within world-class land and seascapes.”

After the prize giving the winning cyclists and the chef guest were joined on the podium by H.E. Rashad bin Ahmed bin Mohammed al Hinai, Undersecretary for the Ministry of Sports Affairs, H.E. Sultan bin Hamdoon Al Harthi, Head of Muscat Municipality,  Yahya Al Kharusi, Walli of Muttrah and Eddy Merckx for a photo shoot and a final congratulations to all the team.

His Excellency Rashad bin Ahmed bin Mohammed al Hinai, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Sports Affairs also expressed his praise for the event saying that “The Tour of Oman is an excellent event with both local and worldwide interest. Coming straight after the success of the Asian Beach Games and to be swiftly followed by the FIFA beach world cup qualifiers for football starting on the 27 February this month, Oman is getting a reputation on the international map as an ideal location to host world class events. We have a programme to help develop sport in schools so that we can help create the conditions that will enable us to have Omanis competing in a variety of fields on the international stage.”

His Excellency Sultan bin Hamdoon Al Harthi, Head of Muscat Municipality and event organiser, was extremely pleased with the teamwork that went on behind the scenes to bring an event of this scale to Oman and said “The success of the Tour of Oman is testament to the collaboration of a number of different organisations who have all worked tirelessly together over the last few months to enable us to host such an impressive world class event at a world class standard. My thanks goes in particular to our corporate sponsors, the Royal Oman Police, the Ministries of Sports Affairs, Tourism, Education, Health, Information and Interior, the Muscat Governorate and the regional Municipalities. I want to also express my thanks to our journalists for their excellent coverage of the race and more importantly to every man, woman and child who came out to support the cyclists. The last six days have helped showcase the warmth, colour and visual splendour of the Sultanate as well as acting as inspiration for our next generation. Even though this event is only two years old, it is already a highlight on the international sporting calendar. ”

To review the action through photos and video, please log on to the website www.tourofoman.om

The Muscat Festival now continues with the start of the Extreme Sailing Series at The Wave, Muscat and the inaugural Muscat Fashion Week in Riyam Park from the 22 -24th February. The International and Omani Heritage villages will also be open every evening in Qurum Natural Park until the 24th February.

All Images – © Lloyd Images

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Aspiring Media Enthusiast, Cricket Tragic, Football Fanatic, Avid Reader, Amateur Photographer & Wannabe Sports Writer.

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