Upturns, downturns, overturns, solo raids, Proud Mary references and Danes! All the podium kisses from Sunday’s final stages in Oman, Portugal, Spain and France. [Did I mention Danes? #giddy]
Tour of Oman, Stage 6, the Wave Muscat to Matrah Corniche, 130.5km
Big Katusha wheel keep on turning, King Kristoff keep on burning, Rolling, rolling, rolling in the desert. The Big K train had it all under control in the run for the line, peeling off with Red Arrows like precision before launching Alexander Kristoff for Oman win number two. Giant Alpecin duo Zico Waeytens and Søren Kragh Andersen took second and third. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) finished safely in the lead group to secure the overall win by 15secs from Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) and 24secs from team mate Jakob Fuglsang [what a day!! two Danes on the podium]. Drapac’s Brendan Canty was best young rider. Edvald BH returns home with two stage wins and the points jersey, with his Dimension Data outfit winning the team classification.
Volta ao Algarve, Stage 5, Almodôvar to Alto do Malhão, 169km
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) gave the fans and Oleg what they longed to see, dancing away on the pedals to take a beautiful solo win atop the Alto do Malhão. A three way sprint some 20secs later saw Astana’s Fabio Aru just pip Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) to claim second place. Geraint Thomas (Sky) judged his effort perfectly, distancing overnight leader Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) on the final climb to claim the overall title from Ion Izaguirre (Movistar) by 19secs, with Baby Blackbird’s attack enough to put him in third at 26secs. The points jersey goes home with the ArgoSunGod Marcel Kittel, Lotto Soudal’s Tiesj Benoot packs the best young rider outfit, and Alexander Kolobnev (Gazprom-Rusvelo) claims the King of the Mountains title.
Ruta del Sol, Stage 5, San Roque to Peñas Blancas, 164.2km
There was DRAMA on the slopes of the Penas Blancas as Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) launched a stage winning solo raid, overcoming a 22secs deficit to snatch the GC from BMC’s Tejay Van Garderen by a whopping 26secs. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) were second and third respectively on the stage, with the Trek rider claiming the third step on the overall podium at 52secs. Ben Swift (Sky) won the points jersey, and there was some consolation for BMC who finished as both best team and with Damiano Caruso as King of the Mountains.
Tour du Haut Var, Stage 2, Draguignan to Draguignan, 206.8km
It was hardly less exciting in France as Arthur Vichot (FDJ) upgraded Saturday’s second place to the top step of several podiums yesterday. With overnight race leader Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale) distanced on the tough finishing circuit, the Frenchman outsprinted Jesus Herrada (Movistar) and Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r La Mondiale) to add both the stage win and a second leader’s jersey to his palmares. Herrada finished second and Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) was third. Vichot was back on the podium to collect the points jersey, last year’s winner Ben Gastauer (Ag2r La Mondiale) topped the mountain classification, and Etixx-Quick Step’s Petr Vakoc was best young rider.
This win was also FDJ’s 400th victory
It’s so good to see Vichot back to his old self after a difficult 2015
Tour du Haut Var: Official Website, Twitter, #HautVar
Header photo: Tour of Oman winners © Muscat Minicipality/Paumer/Kåre Dehlie Thorstad