Van Hooydonck was one of the first to attack and with the peloton pulling some chasers back, Van Hooydonck found himself solo in front for a few kilometers before eventually being joined by three riders.
With an expected bunch sprint on offer, the sprinters’ teams kept the breakaway close and didn’t allow the breakaway to stretch out to more than two and a half minutes.
Good cooperation amongst the breakaway riders saw them maintain a one-minute advantage with 30 kilometers to go, as they approached three laps of a finish circuit along the Matrah Corniche.
The sprinters’ teams increased the pace behind, meanwhile, Van Hooydonck’s CCC Team teammates were also positioned well at the front of the bunch, and as the bell sounded to signal the last seven-kilometer lap, Van Hooydonck’s group was only 20 seconds in front.
The peloton made the catch with three kilometers to go which set the stage for a frantic bunch sprint won by Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Dimension Data), while CCC Team’s riders crossed the line safely behind.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Nathan Van Hooydonck:
“Everyone from the team tried to go in the breakaway again and after Michi [Schär] did a big effort to try and go in the break, I knew when he got caught back that the peloton would be a little bit on the limit because it was super fast. Then, I went and at first nobody came and I was alone for about ten minutes I think. One guy bridged across and then we waited for another two who did the same, so we were with four. Maybe five riders would have been more comfortable, but we knew it was going to be very difficult because all of the sprinters’ teams wanted to go for the sprint. But in the end, I was happy that I could stay away until the last three kilometers. I think it was a very good week for us and we are ready for the Classics period,”
Valerio Piva, Sports Director:
“We wanted to have someone in the breakaway today and all of the guys had a pretty free roll today. Nathan found himself in the right move again and did a good job to stay out in front. We knew it would be almost impossible for them to stay away as there were plenty of teams and sprinters who wanted the win. For the rest, they stayed in a good position and fortunately were not involved in a crash in the peloton. As we have said all week, the most important thing for us is that the race has served as an excellent training block and another chance for the Classics team to work together before opening weekend. I am really happy with what I have seen from the team, and Greg Van Avermaet, so we leave here with a lot of confidence.”
Tour of Oman
Stage 6: Al Mouj Muscat > Matrah Corniche (135.5km)
Top 3: 1. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Dimension Data), 2. Sonny Corbelli (Bahrain – Merida), 3. Davide Ballerini (Astana Pro Team)
CCC Team top 3: 40. Greg Van Avermaet, 45. Gijs Van Hoecke, 59. Michael Schär