Peter Velits of Omega Pharma Quick Step, who held a one-second advantage this morning over Liquigas-Cannondale’s Vincenzo Nibali, has won the Tour of Oman on a day when the final stage went down to the predicted sprint finish, taken by Project 1T4i’s Marcel Kittel, his second stage victory of the race.
Team Sky had worked hard to chase down a three-man breakaway comprising Johan Van Summeren and Christian Vande Velde of Garmin-Barracuda plus Rabobank’s Laurens Ten Dam on the closing circuit in Muscat as they sought to set up world champion Mark Cavendish for what would have been his only victory of what has been a frustrating week.
On the final lap, however, Project 1T4i, formerly Skil-Shimano, took control at the front of the peloton to set up their 23-year-old German sprinter, who burst onto the scene in 2011, ending the year with his maiden Grand Tour stage win in the Vuelta.
After clinching his overall victory, the 26-year-old Slovak Velits, quoted on his team's website, said: "It's a great day, one of the best in my career."
"During the race there was only a moment of panic when Nibali seemed to have gotten second place behind Boonen during the intermediate sprint.
"Luckily it was just a mistake in transcribing numbers from radio infos and the momentary fear quickly dissipated.
"The team controlled the race perfectly, easily taking me to the finish line.
"It's my first win in a stage race, I am very happy. It's a great beginning to the season, even though I'm aware the big races are still to come.
"What's most important, though, is my state of form.
"Compared to the past, I have changed my approach to the season and I can see the results.
"It will be important to go on like this and keep growing race after race. Our next race appointment will be the Tirreno-Adriatico, a very important race in which I wish to do well.
"I will train on my Specialized TTbike, too, in the next few days, in order to prepare for the two time-trial stages at the Tirreno.
"Tonight, though, I just want to celebrate this win with the whole team, to whom I dedicate this success.
"I wouldn't have been able to win without their help," added the former HTC-Highroad rider.
Tour of Oman Stage 6 1 KITTEL Marcel PROJECT 1T4I 3h 11' 04" 2 SAGAN Peter LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE All at same time 3 FARRAR Tyler GARMIN - BARRACUDA 4 GALIMZYANOV Denis KATUSHA TEAM 5 BOUHANNI Nacer FDJ-BIGMAT 6 OSS Daniel LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE 7 KRISTOFF Alexander KATUSHA TEAM 8 BOONEN Tom OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 9 GUARDINI Andrea FARNESE VINI-SELLE ITALIA 10 GUSEV Vladimir KATUSHA TEAM 11 SIEBERG Marcel LOTTO-BELISOL TEAM 12 SELIG Rüdiger KATUSHA TEAM 13 GALLOPIN Tony RADIOSHACK-NISSAN 14 CAVENDISH Mark SKY PROCYCLING 15 HAYMAN Mathew SKY PROCYCLING 16 JEANNESSON Arnold FDJ-BIGMAT 17 DAVIS Allan GREENEDGE CYCLING TEAM 18 VAN WINDEN Dennis RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM 19 FRIEDEMANN Matthias CHAMPION SYSTEM 20 HUNTER Robert GARMIN - BARRACUDA Tour of Oman Overall Result 1 VELITS Peter OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 21h 32' 02" 2 NIBALI Vincenzo LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE + 00' 01" 3 GALLOPIN Tony RADIOSHACK-NISSAN + 00' 17" 4 CASAR Sandy FDJ-BIGMAT + 00' 21" 5 JEANNESSON Arnold FDJ-BIGMAT + 00' 30" 6 SLAGTER Tom RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM + 00' 30" 7 RODRIGUEZ Joaquin KATUSHA TEAM + 00' 47" 8 NAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas GARMIN - BARRACUDA + 00' 49" 9 LEBAS Thomas BRIDGESTONE ANCHOR + 00' 50" 10 CANCELLARA Fabian RADIOSHACK-NISSAN + 00' 52"
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.