February 14 th 2022 - 15:38 [GMT + 4]
Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) displayed impressive climbing legs on Monday to tame the infamous ascent of Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountain). The Czech rider enjoyed a strong support from his teammates, especially Rein Taaramäe, and went solo inside the last 2km. Not only does Hirt take the stage win ahead of Kevin Vauquelin and Elie Gesbert (Arkea-Samsic), he also cracked Fausto Masnada (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) on slopes of more than 10% to take the red leader’s jersey at the end of an eventful stage that saw the battle open up early in the wind. On Tuesday, the final stage will lead the riders to the spectacular Matrah Corniche.
The massive challenges of the day attract the attackers as a 92-man peloton roll from the Al Feyhaa Resthouse in Samail without Marco Canola (Gazprom-RusVelo), non-starter. Six riders manage to open a gap at km 4: Luca Rastelli (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane’), Laurenz Rex (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), Antonio Angulo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Andrea Peron (Team Novo Nordisk) and Nicolas Vinokurov (Astana Qazaqstan Development Team). Abdulrahman Al Yaqoobi (Oman National Selection) tries to join them but he’s caught by the peloton after 20km of battle, when the gap hits a maximum of 3’.
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux quickly get to the front of the bunch to bring the gap down to 2 minutes and control the day. They made it clear ahead of the stage they wanted to take victory up Green Mountain with Jan Hirt, 3rd overall.
Team DSM split the bunch through the wind
The situation seems to be under control until a change of direction exposes the riders to crosswinds inside the last 70km. Team DSM, in line with their aggressive racing since the beginning of the Tour of Oman, put the hammer down and quickly tear the bunch to pieces.
The race leader Fausto Masnada (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) is at the front, but the white jersey Anthon Charmig (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team) is caught behind after suffering a crash earlier in the race. The early attackers are caught with 52km to go. Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) is caught in a crash with Ignatas Konovalovas (Groupama-FDJ) but they both get back on their bikes.
Intermarché dominate the final climb
The second group, with Charmig and Cavendish, get back to the front bunch with 41km to go. Calm returns as Masnada’s Worlfpack drive the bunch to the bottom of the iconic ascent of Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountain): 5.7km with an average gradient of 10.5%.
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux set the pace at the bottom of the climb and Rein Taaramäe quickly reduces the front group to a handful of riders. Hirt puts the hammer down with 2km to go. Arkea-Samsic’s power duo, Elie Gesbert and Kevin Vauquelin, try to follow but they’re quickly dropped as the Czech flies to victory, while Masnada falters, eventually finishing 11th of the stage (+1’48’’).