2016 Tour of Oman Review
Before the first stage I made these predictions for the GC
**** Porte, D. Martin
** Pozzovivo, Costa
Sepulveda, Van den Broeck, Other
Richie Porte (BMC) and Dan Martin (EQS) both took it easy in Oman. While Dan placed well enough on stage 1, a poor performance to Quriyat left him to take his foot of the pedal in later stages. Meanwhile Porte forgot to tell anyone that he was taking this race so easily, rolling in on a training ride every day.
Nibali (Astana) however, was faultless. Able to follow everything he needed on other stages and striking out on Green Mountain gave him a victory befitting the rider who was truly the best over the week’s parcours.
Pozzovivo (AG2R) appears to have been in service of Bardet (AG2R), and while unexpected it was a worthwhile exercise, with a good podium spot adding to the Frenchman’s build up to later races and probable Ardennes tilt.
Costa (Lampre) and Sepulveda (Fortuneo put in decent, but not electrifying performances, while van den Broeck looks a shadow of his former self, his move to Katusha not sparking anything new.
Unsurprising members of the top 10 club include the forever consistent Fuglsang (Astana), as well as a returning Dumoulin (Giant) who looks better for the Giro after this.
However the performances of Kudus (DD), Bennett (Lotto-Jumbo), Canty (Drapac) and De Tier (Topsport) herald the possibility of break out years for the four young stars, as they all kick on to their sky high potential.
Jungels put in a fantastic dig to win solo on stage 1, looking strong for Paris-Nice as well as the Ardennes, as a possible co-leader of the Trek team. Otherwise there was Norwegian domination, with Kristoff (Katusha) and Boasson Hagen (DD) both continuing fantastic form from Qatar.
- Was this enough to save the race? Oman doesn’t have unlimited money and so there has to be really value to the exposure created by the event.
- It is criminal that this race is not televised live. Some very good racing and some spectacular landscapes make for great TV, and with the ASO’s might there is no reason to not have this coverage.
- After his poor showings, Richie Porte refused to speak to a perplexed media. He could have saved a lot of trouble by declaring his intentions before the tour.
Boasson Hagen now looks like a strong contender for the classics, but it’s very possible he is peaking too early and may be tired and down on form in April.
The same can not be said of Kristoff considering his lack of real competition here, and his strength early season last year before his brilliance in Belgium.
Nibali should have wrestled back some respect from Astana management after such poor stage race performances last year, while in the major long term leadership battle, Porte did himself no favours as Van Garderen performed in Andalucia.