Chris Froome has won the 2013 Tour of Oman, the fourth edition of the race, with former Tour de France winners Alberto Contador of Saxo-Tinkoff and BMC Racing's Cadel Evans completing the podium, finishing 27 and 39 seconds down, respectively. The stage win on the day went to FDJ's Nacer Bouhanni ahead of Orica GreenEdge's Matt Goss, with BMC's Taylor Phinney third.
Early season races aren't the most reliable form guide, and there's a lot of racing between now and the Tour de France which starts in late June, but Froome has every reason to be satisfied with his week's work.
On Thursday, he alone was able to stay close to Katusha's Joaquim Rodriguez as the Spaniard won on Green Mountain, then yesterday, in a battle worthy of a Grand Tour, the Sky rider not only managed to check a series of attacks by Contador, but went on the offensive himself in the closing kilometres and had enough strength to beat the Saxo-Tinkoff man and Rodriguez to win the stage.
Team Sky will also be happy that by getting into the leader's jersey on Thursday, Froome will be starting to get used to the protocols that go with being in the race lead, such as attending post stage press conferences. His only previous experience of leading a race with Sky came in the 2011 Vuelta, where he moved into the lead after the Salamanca time trial, only to have to work for Bradley Wiggins the next day and surrender the red jersey to his team mate.
While the Tour of Oman is organised, like the Tour, by ASO, there is of course nothing like the media scrum that will accompany the 100th Tour in France this summer. However, with Froome officially spearheading Sky's challenge in the Tour, part of the plan in the build-up to this season's race will be to ensure, as with Wiggins last year, that by the time the Tour comes around those post-stage obligations will be second nature and therefore less of an intrusion on Froome's routine.
As well as winning the General Classification Froome also took the points jersey, while FDJ's Kenny Elissonde took the best young rider's prize. Bobby Traksel of Champion Systems, in the break in the first three stages, was the most aggressive rider, and BMC Racing took the team prize.
On today's final 144 kilometre stage from Hawit Nagam Park to Matrah Corniche, a trio of riders got away early on, comprising Katusha's Gatis Smukulis, Wesley Kreder of Vacansoleil-DCM and Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox's Andrea di Corrado. Although at one point they led the peloton by six minutes, they were reeled in ahead of two and a half laps of a closing circuit in Oman's capital, Muscat, where the sprinters teams came to the fore ahead of French champion Bouhanni taking the honours on the stage.
Tour of Oman Stage6 result 1 BOUHANNI Nacer FDJ 3h 24' 20" 2 GOSS Matthew ORICA GREENEDGE All at same time 3 PHINNEY Taylor BMC RACING TEAM 4 VIVIANI Elia CANNONDALE 5 BOZIC Borut ASTANA PRO TEAM 6 IMPEY Daryl ORICA GREENEDGE 7 BOONEN Tom OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 8 VAN POPPEL Danny VACANSOLEIL-DCM 9 JARC Blaz TEAM NETAPP-ENDURA 10 COLEDAN Marco BARDIANI VALVOLE-CSF INOX 11 TRENTIN Matteo OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP 12 KRISTOFF Alexander KATUSHA TEAM 13 COLBRELLI Sonny BARDIANI VALVOLE-CSF INOX 14 FORTIN Filippo BARDIANI VALVOLE-CSF INOX 15 DEGENKOLB John TEAM ARGOS-SHIMANO 16 MORI Kazuhiro JAPAN 17 HINAULT Sébastien IAM CYCLING 18 EVANS Cadel BMC RACING TEAM 19 SOUPE Geoffrey FDJ 20 LAGUTIN Sergey VACANSOLEIL-DCM Final overall standings 1 FROOME Christopher SKY PROCYCLING 23h 28' 33" 2 CONTADOR Alberto TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF + 00' 27" 3 EVANS Cadel BMC RACING TEAM + 00' 39" 4 RODRIGUEZ Joaquin KATUSHA TEAM + 00' 50" 5 NOCENTINI Rinaldo AG2R LA MONDIALE + 01' 13" 6 TSCHOPP Johann IAM CYCLING + 01' 13" 7 NIBALI Vincenzo ASTANA PRO TEAM + 01' 19" 8 ELISSONDE Kenny FDJ + 01' 34" 9 POZZOVIVO Domenico AG2R LA MONDIALE + 01' 44" 10 BOUET Maxime AG2R LA MONDIALE + 01' 57"
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.