Masnada’s thriller

February 13 th 2022 - 15:07 [GMT + 4]

Fausto Masnada (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) took the solo win and the red leader’s jersey after a thrilling stage from Al Sifah to Muscat Royal Opera. The rolling route saw action from the start until the finish, with a 119.5km dominated by the Wolfpack’s collective strength. Masnada’s partner Mauro Schmid opened things up early in the stage and eventually dominated the sprint in the 7-man group that finished 1’07’’ behind the Italian climber, including the former leader of the race Anthon Charmig (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team). Masnada is the fourth leader of the Tour of Oman 2022 ahead of the ascent of Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountain) on Monday.

It’s a sunny start on the coast for the 98-man peloton but they prove to be in a hurry to battle rather than enjoy the views of Al Sifah. Attacks fly from the start, but it takes 13km for a group of three attackers to settle at the front: Samuele Zoccarato (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane’), Julen Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Michael Kukrle (Gazprom-RusVelo).

Crazy early battles

Already part of the breakaway on stage 3, Zoccarato dominates the first intermediate sprint (km 27) and the following climb (km 31), but Team DSM are already putting the hammer down to try and turn the race upside down.

The early attackers are caught at km 37, the pace doesn’t drop down and the group around Anthon Charmig (UnoX Team) is quickly down to nine riders. Mauro Schmid (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) keeps the aggressive racing going with another attack at km 44. The young Swiss talent, only trailing by 17’’ overall, is joined 13km later by Team DSM’s Soren Kragh Andersen and Jonas Hvideberg, Groupama-FDJ’s Antoine Duchesne and Gazprom-RusVelo’s Marco Canola.

Non-stop action

The ever-attacking Zoccarato bridges the gap to them on the first ascent of Al Jabal Street (Bousher Al Amerat, km 74.5). The reduced peloton trail by 1 minute, with UAE Team Emirates and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux doing most of the work.

Schmid goes solo on the following ascent of Al Jabal Street (Bousher Al Amerat, km 89), where Fausto Masnada (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) and Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) launch new attacks alongside Arkea-Samsic’s Elie Gesbert and Team DSM’s Kevin Vermaerke and Henri Vandenabeele.

Masnada's final push

A small group gets back together behind Schmid as they head for the final ascent of Al Jabal Street (Bousher Al Amerat), to be summited with 15km to go. Kevin Vauquelin (Arkea-Samsic) sets off in pursuit of Mauro Schmid and goes over the top with a 10’’ gap to a 7-man group: the race leader Charmig, Masnada and Schmid, Vermaerke and Vandenabeele, Costa, Hirt.

Vauquelin is caught with 12km to go, and Masnada immediately launches a new attack. Charmig tries to limit his losses but Masnada flies to victory with a 1’07’’ gap on the line.

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