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Kristoff garners brace of stage wins as Nibali wins Tour of Oman

Alexander Kristoff (Norway/Katusha) was the sprint king for the second time on Sunday's final stage of the Tour of Oman.

Alexander Kristoff (Norway/Katusha) was the sprint king for the second time on Sunday’s final stage of the Tour of Oman. Kristoff and compatriot Edvald Boasson Hagen both took two wins in the 7th edition of the race. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/Astana), winner of the queen stage up Green Mountain on Friday, chalked up his first stage race triumph of the year, 15-seconds ahead of Romain Bardet (France/AG2R) on GC.

An initial breakaway containing Dan Martin (Ireland/Etixx-QuickStep) couldn’t stay away soon its formation after the gun at the Wave in Muscat. However, a septet managed to escape and hurtled itself at two climbs it had already seen in Stage 1. Topsport Vlaanderen’s Pieter Van Speybrouck (Belgium) was motivated to cross the two peaks and one intermediate sprint in the lead.

The field had to navigate three circuits around the finish of Matrah Corniche and by the time the fugitives entered the first lap, their gap was under a minute. There was a slight ascent and short, steep descent on each circuit. Van Speybrouck finished his big day out with another intermediate sprint win before three of his breakmates fell away.

On the final lap the last of the fugitives were reeled in before the precise Katusha lead-out train delivered Kristoff to his fifth victory of the year. Giant-Alpecin, who, as in the Tour of Qatar, started the Tour of Oman a rider short because of the dreadful accident that hurt several members of the team, took second and third.

Sole Canadian entrant Hugo Houle (AG2R) finished 50th on the day to bump him up to 65th on GC, his best Middle Eastern stage race result in four finishes.

Kristoff and Houle will now prepare for next weekend’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, the start of the Spring Classics season, while Nibali will ready himself for early-March’s Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico, the latter of which he has won twice.

2016 Tour of Oman Stage 6
1) Alexander Kristoff (Norway/Katusha) 3:01:18
2) Zico Waeytens (Belgium/Giant-Alpecin) s.t.
3) Søren Kragh Andersen (Denmark/Giant-Alpecin) s.t.
50) Hugo Houle (Canada/AG2R) +0:15

2016 Tour of Oman Final GC
1) Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/Astana) 22:25:25
2) Romain Bardet (France/AG2R) +0:15
3) Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark/Astana) +0:24
65) Hugo Houle (Canada/AG2R) +22:30