Peter Sagan launched a late attack on Tuesday to win the second stage of the Tour of Oman and take the overall lead, with Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins finishing in the middle of the peloton.
Sagan, a Slovak who rides for Cannondale Pro Cycling, completed the 146km stage from Fanja to Al Bustan village in the heart of old Muscat in 3 hours, 48 minutes, 36 seconds. He finished five seconds ahead of RadioShack rider Tony Gallopin and IAM Cycling’s Martin Elmiger.
Sagan led Gallopin by nine seconds in the overall classification.
After catching up to an early breakaway, a pack of 50 riders reached the final sprint together, with Sagan proving the strongest at the end.
“I’m really happy about this first win because the team wanted it and waited for it,” Sagan said. “The fact that I took this win doesn’t count for very much — what is important is that Cannondale Pro Cycling won. Having broken the ice means a run without pressure. We’ll continue to work to achieve new successes at races throughout the year.”
Wiggins, who struggled on the first day after being delayed by a crash, finished 11 seconds behind on Tuesday and is 1 minute, 42 seconds behind Sagan. His teammate and Tour de France runner-up Christopher Froome finished seven seconds back, which leaves the Briton in sixth overall and 17 seconds behind Sagan.
“It was a good day for us and I’m happy with how we performed,” Sky Pro Cycling sports director Nicolas Portal said on the team’s Web site. “It was very hard in those last 25km, especially with those two categorized climbs. The first one was very steep with a constantly changing gradient, but we had the numbers at the front and Pete [Kennaugh], Vasil [Kiryienka], Richie [Porte] and Bradley were able to control things right up until the second climb for Froomey.”
Alberto Contador, who was stripped of a third Tour de France title for using a banned substance, finished 11 seconds behind Sagan and is 21 seconds back in 24th place.