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German sprinter took two stages last year and is first off the mark this time round

Marcel Kittel of Argos Shimano, winner of two stages in last year's Tour of Oman, has won the opening stage of thsi year's race as the fourth edition got under way today.  The 24-year-old German took the bunch sprint ahead of AG2R new recruit David Appollonio and French champion Nacer Bouhanni of FDJ.

Tom Boonen of Omega Pharma-Quick Step, in his first race since the surgery on an infected elbow that forced him to miss last week's Tour of Qatar and thereby disrupted his preparations to defend his titles at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, finished fifth.

Today's 162 kilometre stage from Al Musannah to Sultan Qaboos University was always virtually certain to end in a bunch sprint, despite a two man breakaway comprising Champion System rider Bobbie Traksel of CSS and Kohei Uchima of the Japan composite team getting away early on.

At one point they had a gap of nearly 10 minutes, but with Argos-Shimano among the teams working hard to ensure the stage came down to a bunch finish, Traksel sat up with around 30km to go and Uchima was caught with around 14km left to ride.

Tour of Oman Stage 1 result  
  
1  KITTEL Marcel            TEAM ARGOS-SHIMANO       4h 04' 59"
2  APPOLLONIO Davide        AG2R LA MONDIALE      All at same time
3  BOUHANNI Nacer           FDJ
4  KRISTOFF Alexander       KATUSHA TEAM
5  BOONEN Tom               OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP
6  PHINNEY Taylor           BMC RACING TEAM
7  FORTIN Filippo           BARDIANI VALVOLE-CSF INOX
8  GODDAERT Kristof         IAM CYCLING
9  VIVIANI Elia             CANNONDALE
10 GUARNIERI Jacopo         ASTANA PRO TEAM
11 VAN HUMMEL Kenny         VACANSOLEIL-DCM
12 DELLE STELLE Christian   BARDIANI VALVOLE-CSF INOX
13 VAN POPPEL Danny         VACANSOLEIL-DCM
14 DOWNING Russell          TEAM NETAPP-ENDURA
15 COLEDAN Marco            BARDIANI VALVOLE-CSF INOX
16 VAN POPPEL Boy           VACANSOLEIL-DCM
17 BONNET William           FDJ
18 NISHITANI Taiji          JAPAN
19 FRIEDEMANN Matthias      CHAMPION SYSTEM
20 VANDENBERGH Stijn        OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP
  
Overall standings after Stage 5  
  
1  KITTEL Marcel            TEAM ARGOS-SHIMANO       4h 04' 49"
2  APPOLLONIO Davide        AG2R LA MONDIALE          + 00' 04"
3  TRAKSEL Bobbie           CHAMPION SYSTEM           + 00' 04"
4  BOUHANNI Nacer           FDJ                       + 00' 06"
5  ROLLIN Dominique         FDJ                       + 00' 09"
6  COLBRELLI Sonny          BARDIANI VALVOLE-CSF INOX + 00' 09"
7  KRISTOFF Alexander       KATUSHA TEAM              + 00' 10"
8  BOONEN Tom               OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP   + 00' 10"
9  PHINNEY Taylor           BMC RACING TEAM           + 00' 10"
10 FORTIN Filippo           BARDIANI VALVOLE-CSF INOX + 00' 10"

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.