Alexander Kristoff earned his first victory of the season as well as the first for team Katusha in the 2014 racing season, pulling out a definitive sprint win in the second stage at the Tour of Oman, 139 km from Al Bustan to Quriyat.
– In the final I started a little bit early with 500 meters to go. After a rider passed me, I took his wheel and with 200 meters I started again. I just concentrated on myself and my feelings and I gave my all for a victory, – explained Alexander Kristoff of the closing meters.
Second place went to Leigh Howard from Orica-GreenEdge, while Tom Boonen from Omega Pharma-Quick Step was third.
– I am very happy with this victory today, – continued an enthusiastic Alexander Kristoff. – In my first race in Qatar I missed something. I went there ready after a good winter preparation, but I had some bad luck and several crashes. Yesterday for the first time I felt well and today for the entire stage I was in great shape. Thanks to the good work of my team I went through the entire stage without any troubles. Today the team worked as one united collective – everything was just perfect. This victory gives me more motivation for the season. I will try to progress day by day to be 100 percent ready for the classics season.
One other Katusha rider was also good today – Rudiger Selig, who turned 25 today, finished near to the leaders at 13th position.
After today’s victory Alexander Kristoff moved up to second place in general classification, at 2 seconds behind the current overall leader Leigh Howard.
Team director Torsten Schmidt spoke for the team: “We are all very happy. This is our first victory of the season. It came early in the season and this is always good. The atmosphere in the team is a great one and this victory will give us more motivation and confidence for the next stages where we also have ambitions. We are ready to continue in the Tour of Oman.”
Results of the Tour of Oman second
stage, a 139 kilometre ride from Al Bustan to Quriyat on Wednesday:
1. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/Katusha) 3hr 12min 01sec, 2. Leigh Howard (AUS)
s.t., 3. Tom Boonen (BEL) s.t., 4. Robert Forster (GER) s.t., 5. Nacer
Bouhanni (FRA) s.t., 6. Nicola Ruffoni (ITA) s.t., 7. Pieter Vanspeybroeck
(BEL) s.t., 8. Marcus Burghardt (GER) s.t., 9. Matteo Trentin (ITA) s.t., 10.
Sam Bennett (IRL) s.t.
25. Andre Greipel (GER) s.t.
1. Leigh Howard (AUS/Orica) 7hr 15min 20sec, 2. Alexander Kristoff (NRD) at
2sec, 3. Andre Greipel (GER) 2, 4. Preben Van Hecke (GER) 2, 5. Tom Boonen
(BEL) 8, 6. Nicola Ruffoni (ITA) 8, 7. Paolo Colonna (ITA) 8, 8. Nicola Boem
(ITA) 9, 9. Tony Gallopin (FRA) 11, 10. Stijn Devolder (BEL) 11