MUSCAT, Feb 23, 2014 (AFP) – Britain’s Tour de France champion Chris
Froome successfully defended his Tour of Oman title on Sunday following the
sixth and final stage in Muscat.
The 28-year-old Kenyan-born Team Sky rider topped the overall
classification ahead of American Tejay Van Garderen and Colombian Rigoberto
The sixth stage was won by German sprinter Andre Greipel, his third stage
win of the week, as he edged out Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni with Ireland’s Sam
While Greipel rejoiced in what has been a stunning start to the season with
six victories in all, Froome was the rider wearing the broadest smile
describing his week’s work as the perfect beginning to his season.
“This success is a reward for a winter spent resting and then intensive
training in South Africa,” said Froome, who spent his teenage years and was
educated in South Africa.
“We didn’t get our preparation wrong. The season has been launched
Froome was also satisfied in his overall level of fitness after on Saturday
he had broken the speed record for the climb of the Green Mountain.
“My level of form is similar to that of last year at the same time, if not
“I must not take my foot off the pedal because I could tell this week that
other riders are making progress.”
Van Garderen would have been one of those as the 25-year-old American —
fifth in the 2012 Tour de France which was won by Froome’s team-mate Bradley
Wiggins — finished just 26 seconds adrift of the winner.
“Even if I felt I was on form I did not know too much with respect to where
I was in comparison to my rivals,” he said.
“Thus I am reassured by this performance. This fantastic result will give
me confidence and above all the hunger to work even harder in order that I
arrive at the Tour de de France in July in perfect shape,” added Van Garderen,
who was a disappointing 45th in the race last year.
Results from the Tour of Oman after the sixth
and final stage on Sunday, a 147.5 kiometres ride in Muscat:
1. Andre Greipel (GER/Lotto) 3hr 25min 41sec, 2. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) same
time, 3. Sam Bennet (IRL) s.t., 4. Alexander Kristoff (NOR) s.t., 5. Michael
Morkov (DEN) s.t., 6. Filippo Fortin (ITA) s.t., 7. Matteo Trentin (ITA) s.t.,
8. Jens Keukelaire (BEL) s.t., 9. Borut Bozic (SLO) s.t., 10. Peter Sagan
1. Christopher Froome (GBR/Sky) 22hr 02min 26sec, 2. Tejay Van Garderen
(USA) at 26sec, 3. Rigoberto Uran (COL) 31, 4. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) 48, 5.
Robert Gesink (NED) 57, 6. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA) 1min 01sec, 7. Sergio
Henao (COL) 1:19, 8. Roman Kreuziger (CZE) 1:55, 9. Johann Tschopp (SUI) 1:32,
10. Daniel Moreno (ESP) 1:34.
12. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) 1:51, 19. Frank Schleck (LUX) 2:29, 73. Andy
Schleck (LUX) 20:01.