Dries Devenyns puts in resolute display on Green Mountain
The Belgian looks poised to take his second top 10 finish in a stage race in as many months.
For the seventh straight year, the punishing Jabal Al Akhdhar returned at the Tour of Oman and did what it knows best: decimated the field and reshaped the general classification in favour of the climbers, who were waiting for this opportunity since the start of the race, five days ago.
Despite a six-man breakaway opening after only 15 kilometers a four-minute gap which then they extended to over five minutes halfway through the stage, the peloton was still in pole-position to fight for the win on the Green Mountain, the only classified climb on a day that didn't include a single meter of flat. The chasers dutifully did their homework and by the time they reached the bottom of the 5.7km ascent averaging 10.5%, only 50 seconds were still separating them.
The road went up, and also the tempo, shattering the bunch and leaving only a few riders at the front. From these, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) proved to be the strongest, taking the win at the top ahead of teammate and new race jersey holder Alexey Lutsenko and Jesus Herrada (Cofidis). Dries Devenyns was again the one to carry the flag for Quick-Step Floors, putting in a monumental effort and battling with both the high temperatures of over 30 degrees and the double-digit gradients to finish eighth atop the Green Mountain and cement his sixth place in the general classification.
"We rode full gas from the outset, and that rhythm only intensified by the time we arrived at the foot of the climb, where Astana rode a very high tempo that nobody else could follow. All that you could do on such an excruciating climb was to find your own pace and do your best to limit the losses", explained Dries, who is on the verge of finishing sixth overall at the Tour of Oman.
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