Tour of Oman 2015 – Stage 6 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Tour of Oman 2015 – Stage 6 Preview

 By David Hunter

Oman Air – Muttrah Promenade 133.5km

After the disappointment of stage 5, we end the race with a sprint.

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The two climbs in this stage have already been covered in the race. Both these climbs are the ones used on stage 2, where Cancellara took the stage. The big difference is the length of stage left from the final climb to the end, 27.5km. That being said, it certainly isn’t the “flat” stage we normally see end the race.

Final stages are usually for the sprinters, but some won’t see the end of this stage. It provides BMC and Van Garderen one final chance to win the race. It’s going to be very difficult but they have to try. The sprinters who finished in the second group, on stage 2, were Nikias Arndt, Nacer Bouhanni, JJ Rojas and Sacha Modolo. These boys seem certain to be around at the end. The same should be true of Alexander Kristoff but I’m not sure about Matteo Pelucchi and Andrea Guardini. These boys don’t climb too well and could be put into some difficulty.

I do think we’ll see attacks on the climbs, but the race should come back together for a sprint finish. I don’t think we’ll have the full bunch and some sprinters will be missing. This increases the chances of a few.

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The wind might also be a problem. The forecast is for a strong wind, form the North West. That could see echelons in the middle section of the stage. This isn’t going to be a relaxing day for Lampre-Merida.

Etixx haven’t won a stage yet and they don’t like to miss out. Watch out for them trying something here, and setting up Boonen for a reduced bunch sprint. If we do get crosswinds, they’ll be at the front of the bunch, creating havoc!

The finish itself includes a little circuit, so the riders get to see the sprint before they do it for real. There are a couple of sharp left hand corners, in the last couple of kilometres. It certainly will suit a rider good at holding position, in the bunch.

Again, this is a very difficult stage to predict, as so many things can happen. We have to take into consideration: the climbs, the GC battle, the wind and the type of finish.

Prediction Time

We will see some attacks on the climbs, but being that far out from the end means we’ll get a bunch sprint. Riders like Sagan, Bouhanni and Modolo will all be liking their chances but if Kristoff is there, he’s going to be hard to beat. I’ve mentioned that Nacer Bouhanni and Cofidis are getting better. They didn’t get it right on stage 4, but Bouhanni finished very quickly. I’m sticking with Bouhanni!

David Hunter

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