Tough finish in Tour of Oman
David De La Cruz was our best placed rider on a day which created the first gaps between the overall contenders.
Four categorized climbs and an uphill finish in Al Bustan, different than the one of last year, where Bob Jungels outfoxed the peloton, were on the table for the second stage of the Tour of Oman. Following a fast and crazy start, 15 riders – including Eros Capecchi and David De La Cruz – got a gap, but they weren't allowed by the peloton to stay at the front, so soon everything was back together again and continued to stay that way until after the 50km-mark.
Eventually, Mark Christian (Aqua Blue Sport) and Preben Van Hecke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) took off and enjoyed at one point a consistent advantage of eight minutes, but that didn't mean too much on a heavy terrain as the up-and-down one of Wednesday. The duo were caught with ten kilometers to go, and this sparked a flurry of attacks. Several riders tried to give the bunch the slip by attacking as the road began to rise, but the furious pace of the peloton saw them being reeled in three kilometers away from the line.
David De La Cruz and Laurens De Plus were the two Quick-Step Floors riders in the mix on the stage won by Ben Hermans (BMC), finishing 6th, respectively 12th on the tough slopes of Al Bustan. Following this spirited display, the Spaniard is now 8th in the general classification, while his Belgian teammate lies only three seconds behind the leader of the youth rankings.
"It was a tough and super fast stage right from the start, and you could feel this at the end. I was with Eros in a big break, but a couple of teams pulled us back and the race reshuffled. The team did a good job to bring me in a good position for the last climb. Maybe I could have waited a bit more before attacking, but the important thing is that I had good feelings today and this bodes well for the next stages", said David De La Cruz after completing stage 2 of the Tour of Oman.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele