General Classification Shake-Up Atop Green Mountain

Sat 22 Feb 2014

Daryl Impey was the first ORICA-GreenEDGE rider to cross the finish line atop Green Mountain on stage five of the Tour of Oman. The South African was the 19th rider to reach the summit, part of an  four rider group that finished 1’48 behind stage winner Chris Froome (SKY). With the stage victory, Froome pulled on the red race leader’s jersey ahead of the final stage of Tour of Oman and appears well-poised for a repeat overall victory.

The early action followed the usual format with four riders jumping clear in the opening kilometres. John Murphy (UnitedHealthcare), Marco Canola (Bardiani-CSF) and Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise teammates Thomas Sprengers and Preben Van Hecke built up a 3’30 advantage before Team Sky and Omega Pharma – Quick-Step gave chase.

Team Sky held tight to their place at the head of affairs up the lower slopes of Green Mountain with Sergio Henao launching the team’s first missive. Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Robert Gesink (Belkin) responded to Henao’s acceleration, and when the duo brought Henao back to the elite front group, Froome made his move.

By the time he reached the finish line, Froome had put 22” into van Garderen and 33” into Uran. With the final stage likely to end in a bunch sprint, Froome’s 26” on van Garderen and 31” on Uran on the general classification should be enough for Froome to secure back-to-back overall titles in Oman.  Impey’s remains the Australian outfit’s best placed rider overall at 1’58 in 14th place.

Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage checked in from Oman to answer a handful of questions about the team’s performance. Read what he had to say about the penultimate day of racing below.

Q: What was the team’s plan today?

The stage today was about the summit finish. We wanted to start the climb with three riders in a good position – Santa [Ivan Santaromita], Daryl and Cam [Meyer].

Q: We were involved in any of the early action?

No. There was again a small break, but it was not up to us to do any work knowing how the finish was. We saved all of our energy for the climb.

Q: Can you describe the summit finish for those unfamiliar with it?

Green Mountain is a really steep climb. Today the bunch came at the bottom really fast because all of the leaders wanted to be in a good position. For this climb, it’s important to find your own rhythm. It’s so steep and there is the danger of blowing up.

Q: From a result and/or current fitness level perspective, were you happy with what you saw?

Yes. The boys are ready for the bigger goals of the season. 

Q: What can we expect from the team tomorrow?

There is a high chance that the stage will end in a bunch sprint. We will have more specific discussions during our meeting, but I can say now we will likely go for Jens Kuekeleire or Daryl Impey in the final.