(Road Bike Action & AFP)
Italy’s Andrea Guardini (Astana) sprinted to victory on Tuesday’s opening stage of the 2015 Tour of Oman. Guardini crossed the line first in the mass sprint to claim his first win of the season ahead of Belgium’s Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) and Italy’s Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling).
“My time finally came. I was really good in Qatar. I’ve been in good shape since the start of the season in Dubai when I came close to a win,” said the Italian, who finished second twice in the Emirate and grabbed second and third-place finishes in Dubai.
“The team worked for me perfectly. We were a bit behind on the last turn but with the headwinds and a false flat climb in the end, it was the perfect setting for a comeback. I followed Boonen’s lead and went full throttle in the last hundred metres. This time, the timing was perfect.”
Guardini will wear the leader’s red jersey after his victory in the 161km stage from Bayt Al Naman Castle to Al Wutayyah. Wednesday’s stage two runs from Al Hazm Castle to Al Bustan over a distance of 195km. Due to time bonuses, Guardini leads Boonen by four seconds with Austria’s Patrick Konrad (Bora-Argon 18) third overall at five seconds.
1. Andrea Guardini (ITA/AST) 3hr 45min 37sec
2. Tom Boonen (BEL/EQS) s.t.
3. Matteo Pelucchi (ITA/IAM) s.t.
4. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/KAT) s.t.
5. Ramon Sinkeldam (NED/TGA) s.t.
1. Andrea Guardini (ITA/AST) 3hr 45 min 37sec
2. Tom Boonen (BEL/EQS) at 04s
3. Patrick Konrad (AUT/BOA) at 05s
4. Matteo Pelucchi (ITA/IAM) at 06s
5. Johann Van Zyl (RSA/MTN) at 07s