Eurosport - Fri, 19 Feb 18:39:00 2010
Fabian Cancellara won the Tour of Oman despite being edged out on the final time trial stage in Muscat Corniche.
Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen beat the Italian Saxo Bank rider by 17 seconds to win the 18.6km time trial stage on day six of the race, but Cancellara still topped the general classification by 28 seconds from the Team Sky rider. Garmin's Cameron Meyer finished third, a further 32 seconds back.
The winner admitted that it had been a tough race, and that holding off Boasson Hagen had taken everything out of him.
"That was a tough one," he said. "We've been racing for two weeks with just one rest day, I also caught a cold and we're at the start of the season, so I won thanks to my experience and intelligence.
"I've still got to go up a level. I'm not happy with my form but I'm happy with my performance and the result and I'm sure it was the right choice to come here."
Boasson Hagen was happy with the stage victory, and denied that he was upset to have lost out overall.
"This morning I didn't actually feel that good but then when the race started, and I could see the riders in front of me, I found some extra power," he said.
"It's good to win. I'm just really satisfied with my form. I didn't expect to be so good so early in the season. "
Marcus Burghardt of BMC notched his second straight top 10 finish at a stage race in 2010 when he placed eighth in the time trial, to finish in seventh place overall.
"For the stage it was not bad, but my goal was to make the top five again like Qatar," he said.
Milram team manager Gerry van Gerwen was happy to see Niki Terpstra finish sixth on the time trial but was left frustrated to be without one of his best sprinters for the race.
"Unfortunately we lost our top sprinter Gerald Ciolek in Qatar," he said. "Both races were dominated by the sprinters and Gerald would have had every chance to win a stage."
STAGE FIVE REPORT
Quick Step's Tom Boonen sprinted to victory in the Tour of Oman's fifth stage to claim his third win in 11 days. The Belgian clinched two stages in the Tour of Qatar and finished third on stage four in Oman before upgrading to stand atop the podium.
Boonen, who won the Tour de France's green jersey in 2007, out-muscled Argentina's Juan Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank) and Michael Van Stayen (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator), second and third respectively, to clinch victory.
Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen finished sixth while Liquigas rider Daniele Bennati crossed the line seventh but retained the overall lead.
Friday's sixth and final stage is an 18.6km individual time-trial from Al Jissah to Muscat Corniche.
STAGE FOUR REPORT
Liquigas rider Daniele Bennati took the overall lead of the Tour of Oman after HTC-Columbia's Leigh Howard claimed his first pro tour victory on the fourth stage of the race.
Bennati (Liquigas) crossed the line in second behind Australian Howard and ahead of Quickstep's Tom Boonen in third.
Howard, 20, said: "I'd only ridden one previous race with the pros, the Tour of Ireland last year, so to come here and beat some of the top guys in the peloton is an amazing feeling.
"I'd been working for Bernie (HTC-Columbia teammate Bernhard Eisel) all week, but today with about 30 kilometres to go after the split had happened, I told him I was feeling really strong. He took me to about 500 metres to go to the finish and I went for it.
"I think it being a smaller group of riders like at today's finish was an advantage for me because I'm not so used to the big bunch sprints. That should come in the future."
Italian Bennati took the lead from Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen after the Norwegian lost over a minute on the 187km ride from Ibri to Nakhal.
Thursday's fifth and penultimate stage sees the peloton cycle from Wattayat to the Sultan Qaboos Stadium.
STAGE THREE REPORT
Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen continued his red-hot early season form with victory in stage three of the Tour of Oman to cement his overall lead.
The Norwegian already held the leader's red jersey after podium finishes in the opening two stages but executed a flawless sprint finish to claim the 124km stage from Saifat Ash Shiekh to Qurayyat.
Team Sky reeled in a breakaway which had a lead of just under three minutes before the lead-out train then teed up 22-year-old Boasson Hagen, who pipped Danilo Napolitano (Katusha) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions) to the line.
"I'm really happy with the win," said Boasson Hagen, who won the 2009 Tour of Britain with four stage victories and last week claimed the first stage of the Tour of Qatar.
"The guys have made good lead outs on every stage so far and to finish it off today is a great feeling."
Wednesday sees the peloton contest the 187km stage from Ibri to Nakhal.
STAGE TWO REPORT
Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen took the overall lead of the Tour of Oman as Daniele Bennati won the race's second stage.
Italian Bennati of Liquigas-Doimo outsprinted Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Transitions and Boasson Hagen on the 148.5km stage from Nizwa to Samail.
An early four-man break featuring Ben Dowsett (Trek-Livestrong), Kristof Vandewalle (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator), Ben Gastauer (Ag2r) and Jackson Stewart (BMC Racing Team) was caught with 20 kilometres remaining before the sprint finish.
Bennati sits third in the General Classification behind Frenchman Jimmy Casper of Saur-Sojasun, who won the opening stage of the six-day race.
The 124km stage three will be contested between Saifat Ash Shiekh and Qurayyat.
STAGE ONE REPORT
Jimmy Casper narrowly beat Edvald Boasson Hagen to win the first stage of the inaugural Tour of Oman.
The Frenchman, of Saur-Sojasun, pipped Team Sky's Norwegian in a sprint finish to cap off a 61km race on the Muscat Corniche.
Belgium's Kenny Dehaes (Omega Pharma-Lotto) came third.
The second stage is over 148.5hm between Nizwa and Samail.