Tour of Oman 2017: Ben Hermans is Champion

Tour of Oman 2017: Ben Hermans is Champion
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Published February 20th, 2017 - 15:32 GMT

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Belgium's Ben Hermans (C-R), from BMC Racing Team, raises an arm in celebration as he wears the red jersey of the overall winner of the tour, while standing between Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (R) from Team Katusha Alpecin wearing the green jersey of the best sprinter, Eritrean Merhawi Kudus (C-L) from Team Dimension Data wearing the white jersey of the best youg rider, and Belgian Aime De Gendt from SVB team wearing with the dotted jersey of the most agressive rider, during the victory ceremony after the 6th and final stage of the 8th edition of the cycling Tour of Oman between on February 19, 2017.
ERIC FEFERBERG / AFP
Belgium's Ben Hermans (C-R), from BMC Racing Team, raises an arm in celebration as he wears the red jersey of the overall winner of the tour, while standing between Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (R) from Team Katusha Alpecin wearing the green jersey of the best sprinter, Eritrean Merhawi Kudus (C-L) from Team Dimension Data wearing the white jersey of the best youg rider, and Belgian Aime De Gendt from SVB team wearing with the dotted jersey of the most agressive rider, during the victory ceremony after the 6th and final stage of the 8th edition of the cycling Tour of Oman between on February 19, 2017. ERIC FEFERBERG / AFP

Ben Hermans of BMC Racing Team clinched his first major title of his career on Sunday when the Belgian safeguarded his lead in the general classification on the sixth and final stage of the 2017 Tour of Oman that concluded at Muttrah Corniche. 

The 30 year old took the overall lead in the race on stage two after a stage win, and asserted his dominance in the race after winning in Jebel Akhdar on the stage-five summit finish.
Despite getting caught in a crash on Sunday’s sixth stage, Hermans was able to recover and finish the stage with his 22-second advantage over his nearest rival and former world champion Rui Costa (UAE Abu Dhabi) of Portugal.

Italian Fabio Aru of Astana Pro Team finished overall third, trailing the winner by 35 seconds. Norway's Alexander Kristoff of Team Katusha Alpecin proved his dominance in sprint as he claimed a third stage win over the 130.5km stage that began at Al Mouj, Muscat.

The final stage, which featured a couple of difficult climbs en route to the finish, featured a three-man breakaway of Iljo Keisse (Quick-Step Floors), Aime De Gendt (Sport Vlaanderen) and Benjamin Geraud (Delko Marseille Provence).

They were able to establish a gap of around three minutes in the escape, despite a blustery wind battering the riders throughout the stage.

On the stage’s first climb after around 78km, Hermans found himself caught up in the crash, while up front, Geraud drifted out of the lead group and back to the peloton despite linking up with a second attempted breakaway led by the likes of Mark Christian (Aqua Blue Sport).

BMC did much of the work to pull the break back in, and as they entered the final 25km circuit, the pair out front had around 1m20s advantage.

Keisse found himself alone as De Gendt slipped away, and Katusha began to wind things up in search of another sprint victory for its leader Kristoff.

The Belgian was caught within the final 5km, and that prompted attacks from both Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC).

Both were short-lived as Katusha continued to hold a high pace. Kristoff was able to power ahead of Romanian Eduard Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Italian Sacha Modolo (UAE Abu Dhabi) to take his third stage win and confirm his position as the race’s best sprinter and wear the green jersey. It was his seventh win in Oman.

Merhawi Kudus of Team Dimension Data finished as the best young rider, while his Dimension Data squad was named the best team. Aime De Gendt claimed the most aggressive rider's jersey.

H H Sayyid Kamil bin Fahd al Said, Assistant Secretary General for the Cabinet of the Deputy Prime Minister for Council of Ministers, gave away the awards in the presence of H E Mohsen al Sheikh, the Chairman of Muscat Municipality, and other dignitaries.

Sixth stage results (top five): 1 Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha Alpecin), 2 Eduard Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini), 3 Sacha Modolo (UAE Abu Dhabi), 4 Bert Van Lerberghe (Sport Vlaanderen- Baloise), 5 Manuel Belleti (Wilier Triestina).

Overall results: 1 Ben Hermans (BMC Racing Team), 20h56m20s; 2 Rui Costa (UAE Anu Dhabi) +22s; 3 Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) +35s; 4 Merhawi Kudus (Team Dimension Data) +58s; 5 Tsgabu Grmay (Bahrain- Merida) +1m12s; 6 Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) +1m17s; 7 Mathias Frank (AG2R La Mondiale) +1m19s; 8 Lachlan Morton (Team Dimension Data) +1m21s; 9 Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) +1m33s; 10 Nathan Haas (Team Dimension Data) +1m38s.

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