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Penultimate stage of Persian Gulf race abandoned after riders protest over safety concerns

Riders at the Tour of Oman including Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali staged a protest over dangerous conditions with strong winds, sandstorms and soaring temperatures eventually forcing organisers to cancel Stage 5 of the six-day race.

Organisers had earlier taken the decision to shorten the 151-kilometre stage from Al Sawadi Beach to the Ministry of Housing, but following discussions with riders concerned about their safety, it was cancelled.

Temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius followed sandstorms that had affected the early part of the stage, and the heat caused tyres to puncture.

Here’s a Vine posted by Nibali’s Astana team showing the conditions riders faced at the beginning of the stage, with the arch above the start line collapsing as it was buffeted by the wind.

 

 

Going into Sunday's final stage, Lampre-Merida’s Rafael Valls leads by five seconds from BMC Racing’s Tejay van Garderen on the general classification, with Alejandro Valverde of Movistar third, 19 seconds off the lead.

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.