INTERMARCHÉ
WANTY GOBERT

Tour of Oman

Hirt targets victory on the queen stage after intense GC fight


The fourth stage of the Tour of Oman saw an intense fight between the leaders of the general classification this Sunday. The attacks began early in this short 119 kilometer stage between Al Sifah and Muscat, the accelerations caused the peloton to split and a group of fifteen riders found themselves in the lead after an hour of racing. Among them were Jan Hirt and his teammate Rein Taaramäe, second and sixth overall respectively.

Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux then assumed responsibility of the peloton once the regrouping took place before the halfway mark. Kévin van Melsen, Tom Devriendt and Julius Johansen controlled the gap with a six-rider breakaway, which tackled the triple ascent of Bousher Al Amerat (4 km at 6.6%) with a lead of less than a minute.

The favorites attacked one another again on the second time atop Bousher Al Amerat, and Jan Hirt managed to respond to each acceleration, well helped by Hugo Page and Rein Taaramäe. These changes of pace eventually condemned the breakaway, taken over by a group of seven strong men including Jan Hirt.

The Italian Masnada (Quickstep) exploited the descent of the last climb to break away and reach Muscat alone. Hirt crossed the line in seventh position, Page and Taaramäe arrived in the second chasing group. The Czech climber is in third place overall on the eve of the queen stage leading to the summit of Jabal Al Akhdar (6 km at 10%), Taaramäe is provisionally ninth.

It was a hard day because the pace was high from the start, the heat and the constant up and down made everybody tired. Collectively we were very strong, Charmig only had two teammates to defend his leader's jersey so we took responsibility. I am disappointed to concede so much time to Masnada for the GC victory, even if he did an impressive ride and the collaboration of our group was not ideal, we never stopped in pursuit. I struggled with cramps towards the end, I felt like I couldn't give more on the flat portion that led to the finish. I am already looking towards tomorrow's stage which will be an interesting opportunity for me, I have never been dropped by Masnada on the climb so I want to fight for the stage victory in Jabal Al Akdhar.

General Classification

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