Simone Ponzi finished just outside the top 10 on stage 4 of Tour of Oman. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) claimed his second win in the race after a thrilling finale.
Info: February 17th, stage 4, Yiti (Al Sifah) – Ministry of Tourism, 118km
Weather: sunny, warm
Due to short distance it was going to be a very intense stage. The peloton didn’t want to let anyone go clear until 9 riders managed to create a gap. That move included Tanel Kangert (Astana), Axel Domont (AG2R La Mondiale), Stefan Küng (BMC Racing Team), Anass Ait El Abdia (UAE Abu Dhabi), Bob Jungels Etixx-Quick Step), Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport), Mike Teunissen (Team Sunweb), Fabien Doubey (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) and Daniel Eaton (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team). Their advantage never exceeded 2 minutes and eventually they were brought back in with 15km to go.
The finale saw as many attacks as the opening part of the stage. GC favorites were among the most aggressive riders, but despite multiple attempts it all came back together right before the line.
Just like last year, when Simone Ponzi finished 4th by the Ministry of Tourism, the Italian was trying to sprint for top places. He kicked off the bunch gallop well positioned and this time it resulted in 11th place.
After a good winter preparation and few races, I’ve started to have good sensations on the bike. It’s a pitty I wasn’t able to make the top 10″ today, but I feel that I’m getting closer and closer to be among the fastest men at the line. Today I didn’t play out the sprint the way I should have, as I went on the left side of the road, where I had to deal with strong headwind. I’m grateful to our DS, Gabriele Missaglia though, for believing in me – Simone Ponzi said afterwards.
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) notched his second win in the race, outsprinting Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing).