Stybar and Impey just miss out on Oman stage five finish
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Friday, February 15, 2013

Stybar and Impey just miss out on Oman stage five finish

by Kyle Moore at 3:21 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Oman
 
4th and 5th place finishers had played different tactics in chase of Froome’s group

Zdenek StybarZdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) played different tactics in the run in to the finish of stage five of the Tour of Oman, but neither could take down the determined general classification trio of Chris Froome (Sky Procycling), Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), or Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). Froome took the stage in a sprint over Contador.

The trio topped the final ascent of the Bousher Alamrat climb with a handful of seconds over a select chasing group being led by Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), managing to hold off the chasers by working together over the final 13 kilometres. Impey and Stybar were both a part of the chase, which eventually proved unsuccessful, making fourth and fifth, respectively, the best each could do.

Already in the day’s early breakaway, Stybar later worked endlessly to haul back Froome’s group, while Impey preferred to wait and hope to use his sprinting prowess to take the stage.

Stybar was particularly frustrated to miss out on the first big win of his first full road season.

“I knew this was a difficult stage with a tough final, so I tried to get in the early break,” Stybar said according to Het Nieuwsblad. “Eventually there were nine of us away. It was an ideal breakaway. With [Matteo] Trentin, I had a team-mate along, and every major team had a representative in front, so our relationship was good. I just thought I’d give it everything for the finish.”

After his initial group was caught, Stybar survived as the peloton thinned out over three ascents of the Bousher Alamrat, joining up with the GC contenders that had bridged. But the day’s work was too much once Contador and Froome attacked.

“I swore when I saw Contador and Froome go,” Stybar muttered. “I could not follow their pace uphill, but I could join up with Evans and Impey. In the final kilometres, we got very close. I tried everything to close the gap, but the others would not work. Eventually we got stranded at 60 meters behind.

Impey chose to sit on in hopes of unleashing his sprint at the line, which almost assuredly would have gotten him the stage.

“I was having a really good day today. When the guys went really hard on the second lap, I looked around and realized there were only ten of us left,” Impey explained on the Orica-GreenEdge website. “That was my chance. I got dropped when the group upped the pace again, but I rode my own pace to get back. By the time I reconnected with the leaders, we had caught the breakaway. I got dropped again on lap three, but again I was able to catch back on. This time, when I rejoined the group, there were three riders up the road. Froome, Contador, and Rodriguez had gotten away from the group, and I was part of a seven-rider chase.

“This is where I took a gamble. Going for the stage win and not riding for time, I elected to sit on rather than work with the guys in the group on the chase. I hoped the guys riding for the general classification would bring it back because I was pretty confident that from that group of ten, I’d win the sprint. Unfortunately, we left it too late, and my gamble wasn’t good. We had them just in sight as we powered towards the final straightaway. We were four seconds behind them across the line. I won the chase group sprint quite convincingly, so I’m a little heart-sore that there were three up the road.”

Impey gets one more chance, in the stage six finale on Saturday, which spans 144km and is expected to finish with a bunch sprint.

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