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Tour of Oman: Hermans takes the “queen stage”

Jakub Kaczmarek was the team’s top finisher on the “queen stage” of Tour of Oman, won by the race leader, Ben Hermans. 

Info: February 18th, stage 5, Samail – Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountain), 152,5km

Weather: sunny, warm

Course: “queen stage”, mountain top finish (5,7km, 10,5%)

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Strong wind did a lot of damage in the group early on. The echelons were being formed and the peloton split into few parts. When things calmed down, the bunch merged and the breakaway of the day was established. Mark Christian (Aqua Blue Sport), Daniel Diaz (Delko Marseille Provence KTM), Olivier Pardini (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect), Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team), Preben Van Hecke (Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise) were part of the move, which gained nearly 9 minutes of advantage. Big crash in the bunch, caused by a stream going across the road, played in the escapees favor, as it slowed the pack down. CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders were not among those who went down.

With the mountain top finish awaiting the riders the gap was never too big to bridge it. When teams with GC favorites started the chase the margin dropped immediately. The escape hit the bottom of the Jebel Akhdar climb 2 minutes ahead of the bunch.

The escapees got caught and the GC battle was on. One attack was following another and eventually it was the race leader, Ben Hermans (BMC Racing) who was the strongest. He bested Fabio Aru (Astana) and Rui Costa (UAE Abu Dhabi), retaining his overall lead.

Jakub Kaczmarek was first “rider in orange” on the top, taking 29th place (2:33).

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