After two days suited for sprinters, the third stage this Saturday offered the possibility to the contenders of the general classification on the final climb towards Qurayyat (2.8km at 7%). After the start in front of the Sultan Qaboos University, the riders had to accomplish 180 kilometer through the Hajar mountains before this explosive finish.
The day began with a breakaway of six riders containing Kévin Van Melsen. In the peloton, the riders under the direction of Valerio Piva stayed together and benefited from their advantageous position as they didn’t have to take any responsibility in the chase behind the escapees. Van Melsen was one of the race leaders until the second and last intermediate sprint which was positioned 20 kilometer before the finish.
Once the breakaway had been caught, a complete peloton approached the final climb towards Qurayyat. Climber Jan Hirt was the first one to attack with one kilometer to go and it looked like a decisive effort. The Czech climber was overtaken just before the line by Danish rider Charming (Uno-X). Estonian rider Rein Taaramäe and Frenchman Hugo Page took 6th and 14th place respectively and accompany Hirt in the top 10 of the general classification after this first hilly stage.
More hills are scheduled this Sunday between Al Sifah and the Royal Opera House in Muscat. The Climb of Al Jabal (4km at 6.7%) has to be covered three times in the final of the stage of 119.5 kilometer.