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Tour of Oman: Ponzi missed out on the podium on stage 5

Simone Ponzi was close to taking first podium spot of the 2016 season for CCC Sprandi Polkowice, as he finished 4th in Stage 5 of Tour of Oman. He was sprinting from a 40-man group, which included also Davide Rebellin and Adrian Honkisz. 

I had a little bit of bad luck in the final 1km. I lost 3-4 positions and I had to start the sprint from 7-8th place in the group. I think the podium was within the reach, because I lost to Canola only by a hair. Photo finish was needed to determine who got 3rd. Boasson Hagen is basically out of reach for the rest of the sprinters, so it would be very hard to take the win – Ponzi said afterwards.

Of course it would be nice to claim the top 3, but I am also satisfied with 4th. I feel that the form is improving and I should be ready for my main goals of the cycling spring – Milano-Sanremo and Tirreno-Adriatico. 

Stage 5 was by some considered to be as hard as the yesterday’s stage to Jabal Al Akhdhar. It was only 119 kilometers long, but there were 5 short, but steep hills on the menu. The last one was located only 13 kilometers from the finish.

Jacques Van Rensburg (Dimension Data), Hugo Houle (AG2R La Mondiale) and Pieter Weening (Roompot – Oranje Peloton) decided to give it a go and broke clear early on. They gained a big advantage, given a short distance, as they created a 6:15 gap.

Their lead was being reduced steadily and on the last climb – to Bousher Al Amerat  – the bunch put the hammer down bringing the gap down to one minute. At that point only Van Rensburg and Weening were in the front, since Houle got dropped on a penultimate ascent.

Final hill saw lot’s of action going on with Van Rensburg trying to break clear from the break. Also Bob Jungels (Etixx – Quick Step) and Daniel Oss (BMC Racing), and top 2 in GC, Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) made their moves from the bunch.

The escape was reeled in within the last 10 kilometers and it came down to a sprint from a 40-man field. Simone Ponzi took advantage of his sprinting skills and claimed 4th. He was outsprinted only by the winner Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) and Marco Canola (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team).

Nibali held on to his overall lead. Also Rebellin maintained his 14th place in the general standings. Tomorrow is the last stage of the race. It’s relatively flat and short, with 130 kilometers to cover.