Davide Rebellin has proved one more time that the age is only a number. 44-year old Italian finished 5th on Stage 2 of Tour of Oman, which ended with a punchy uphill finish.
After yesterday’s stage, which has selected the group of contenders for the final victory, riders had another tough finale ahead of them. The 2,8-kilometer hill in the end was supposed to determine the winner.
After several breakaway attempts a 6-man group went clear early on. Christoph Pfingsten (Bora-Argon 18), Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo – Vital Concept), Kenny Dehaes (Wanty – Groupe Gobert), Jesper Asselman (Roompot – Oranje Peloton), Stijn Steels (Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise) and Alexander Kamp (Stölting Service Group) were part of the escape and recorded the biggest advantage of the day – 4:15 – after climbing first categorized hill, Boucher Al Amerat, which was located at 33 km mark.
The breakaway was working well together until the first intermediate sprint. After the battle for the most aggressive rider jersey, few escapees decided to surge away. Kamp, Asselman and Pericho created some gap over the chasers.
While the remnants of the break got caught by the bunch, the leading trio was going for it as long as they could. Their journey ahead of the back finally ended with 18 kilometers to go. At that point the peloton was pacing really hard and the group of around 20 riders got dropped before the final hill.
CCC Sprandi Polkowice was responsible for some of that damage. The “orange squad” took over the lead in the field with 10 kilometers remaining, trying to position Davide Rebellin for the finale. The Italian could start the hill among the favorites and reached the top in 5th. For Rebellin it was second consecutive top 10 place in Oman and he moved up to 6th in the overall standings.
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) earned the victory after taking the sprint from a 10-man group. He out powered Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Grega Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team). The top 3 of the general classification is the same as the top 3 on the stage.
The stage was decided in a 3-kilometer uphill finish. The team did a great job in positioning me for the last slope, as Simone Ponzi pushed the pace in the finale to make a selection. We started the sprint with 400 meters to go. Me and Pozzovivo slightly lost contact with the fastest and I had to settle for 5th place. It was short but very steep hill so to finish in the top 3, one had to have a lot of power in the legs. I am satisfied with my form and how the team is performing as a unit. Our next goal is to complete the Friday’s stage, with mountain top finish, among the strongest – Davide Rebellin said afterwards.