MATRAH CORNICHE, Oman, Feb 20, 2011 – Dutch rider Robert Gesink won the Tour of Oman here on Sunday after the sixth and final stage.
British star Mark Cavendish won the final stage – his first victory of the year – beating Russian Denis Galimzyanov and Andrea Guardini of Italy in a sprint finish.
Cavendish is widely seen to be the best sprinter in the world but has suffered a troubled start to the year, crashing twice in the Tour Down Under and then the Tour of Qatar.
“Sprinters are generally very nervous in the opening races of the season,” said the 25-year-old Isle of Man-born rider, who has 23 stage wins on major tours to his credit, including 15 in the Tour de France.
“Everyone wants to win, to open his account… and until today (Sunday), I hadn’t any success.
“But I never really worried about that as I knew I had the legs for it.”
“Everyone tries to go for the win in races like this so it’s a bit hectic,” Cavendish said afterwards, “But it was great, I had [team-mates] Hayden Roulston and Matt Goss looking after me in the finish, and they did a good job holding onto me and I did a good job holding onto them all the way through.”
“Goss went at the end, I left a gap then went for it myself. It was difficult with the wind, but it all worked perfectly.”
“It’s always good to get the first victory of the year, too, it didn’t work out the other day but now I’ve got it and I’m happy.”
Gesink, sixth in the Tour de France last year, took overall honours beating Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen and Giovanni Visconti of Italy by over a minute.
It rounded off a highly-successful week for the winner’s team Rabobank as while he laid the base for his overall win on two stage wins on Friday and Saturday, his team-mate Theo Bos also won two stages.
Stage 6 Results:
1. Mark Cavendish (GBR) HTC-Highroad 3hr 39min 58sec,
2. Denis Galimzyanov (RUS) same time,
3. Andrea Guardini (ITA) s.t.,
4. Matteo Pelucchi (ITA) s.t.,
5. Francesco Chicchi (ITA) s.t.,
6. Thor Hushovd (NOR) s.t.,
7. Pieter Ghyllebert (BEL) s.t.,
8. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) s.t.,
9. Stijn Neirinck (BEL) s.t.,
10. Theo Bos (NED) s.t.
1. Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank 16hr 44min 38sec,
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) at 1min 13sec,
3. Giovanni Visconti (ITA) 1:19,
4. Michael Albasini (SUI) 1:52,
5. Christian Vandevelde (USA) 2:04,
6. Fabian Cancellara (SUI) 2:11,
7. Dries Devenyns (BEL) 2:13,
8. Maxime Monfort (BEL) 2:19,
9. Patrick Sinkewitz (GER) 2:51,
10. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) 3:02