Muscat: The very eventful final day of the Tour of Oman, swept by the wind, crowned the two heroes of this 8th edition of the popular cycling race. As expected the sixth and final stage between The Wave Muscat and the Muttrah Corniche finished in a bunched sprint, claimed in style by Alexander Kristoff who wins his third stage of this edition.
Meanwhile, several positions behind, Ben Hermans crossed the line in the pack securing his red jersey. The Belgian claimed the overall victory, winning the General Classification ahead of Rui Costa and Fabio Aru. A fantastic achievement by the BMC rider who captured the biggest win of his career. A success that he started building on day two when he conquered the leader’s jersey, before confirming his domination with another win at the top of Green Mountain on Saturday.
Before taking on the 6th stage of the Tour of Oman, a 130.5km ride from The Wave Muscat to the Muttrah Corniche, including two short but tough climbs, a question came to mind: would overall leader Ben Hermans (BMC) be challenged by his GC rivals on this last stage? After conquering his second win of this 8th edition at the top of Green Mountain, the Belgian could count on what looked like a decisive lead of 22’’ over Rui Costa (UAD) and 35’’ over Fabio Aru (AST). Looking good for his first overall victory on the Tour of Oman, especially surrounded by a very strong BMC squad.
After bidding farewell to the residential area of The Wave Muscat, the 139 remaining riders of the race took off at 11:08. As soon as the first kilometre, three men managed to take off: Keisse (QST), De Gendt (SVB) and Giraud (DMP).
Their lead grew from 30’’ at km 5 to 2’30’’ at km 18. It reached a maximum of 2’50’’ before dropping as team Aqua Blue started chasing. Indeed, with De Gendt in the front group, the Most Aggressive jersey of Mark Christian (ABS) appeared to be in danger with many points up for grabs.
Meanwhile in the pack, just before the first major difficulty, drama struck in the pack as leader Ben Hermans hit the ground. Thankfully without major injuries. On the first climb of the day (Al Hamriyah, km 78.5), Giraud was the first to be dropped. De Gendt made it first to the top collecting three points ahead of Keisse (2 pts) and Van Hecke (SVB) on a counter-attack, 6’’ adrift. Christian who had also broken away from the pack was 25’’ behind.
The two leaders continued their efforts at the front. At the first intermediate sprint (km 92), claimed by De Gendt in front of Keisse, Van Hecke remained 1’15’’ behind and the pack that had caught Christian, 2’15’’ adrift.
De Gendt also made it first at the top of Al Jissah, virtually capturing the Most Aggressive rider’s jersey and added an extra three points to his tally at the second bonus sprint where the pack, including Van Hecke was 1’25’’ behind.
With under 10kms to go, Keisse decided to take off on his own. The Belgian could enjoy a 30’’ lead over the pack that had caught De Gendt, with only one lap to go. Keisse was eventually caught with under 4kms remaining.
On the final climb of the circuit, Romain Bardet (ALM) powered away, taking with him Greg Van Avermaet (BMC). Both men saw their lead grow to a slim 10’’ with 2kms left. They were finally caught one kilometre from the line.

Time then came for a bunched sprint with a strong headwind on the final straight. Like on day one and stage four, Alexander Kristoff (KAT) made the best of the work of his Katusha-Alpecin teammates and flew to a third win. The Norwegian crossed the line ahead of Romanian Eduard Grosu (NIP) and Italian Sacha Modolo (UAD) to capture his seventh victory in Oman.
Well protected by his BMC teammates, Ben Hermans made it to the finish among the peloton, winning the general classification of this 8th Tour of Oman.
In the final standings, the Belgian wins the race with a 22’’ lead over Rui Costa and 35’’ over Fabio Aru. Second of the Vuelta a la Comunitat Valenciana behind Nairo Quintana at the beginning of the month, he confirms his fine start to the 2017 season. Thanks to his day’s success, Alexander Kristoff wins the green jersey (points classification) and Merhawi Kudus (DDD) finishes best young rider while his Dimension Data squad is the best team of this Tour of Oman. Present at the front, on day one and again for over 120kms of the final stage, Aimé De Gendt claims the most aggressive rider’s jersey.