Vandenbergh Animates Tour of Oman Stage 4
Stijn Vandenbergh did his best to stay away on Friday at Tour of Oman Stage 4, escaping with Klaas Lodewijk (BMC Racing Team) on a hard, windy, and hot day. The attempt was unsuccessful, with Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) taking the victory. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) was 2nd and Tony Gallopin (Radioshack Nissan Trek) 3rd. Nonetheless, Vandenbergh gave his all to try and stay away from the peloton.
The duo attacked early on after a couple crashes within the peloton, and their gap ballooned to 7 minutes and 40 seconds at one point in the race. The average speed was 46.6km at that point. However, the gap for Vandenbergh and his breakaway partner dropped to 6 minutes and 35 seconds at the 50 km mark, which was before the first of several hard climbs of the day.
Right before a fast descent, the gap dropped to 3 minutes and 50 seconds, and then 3 minutes and 35 seconds with 65km covered.
The gap stayed around 3:35 through the second hour of racing (81km covered), but dropped to 2:20 on a very steep 2nd climb of the day that was 2k in length.
Vandenbergh and his escape partner clung to a 1 minute 27 second lead with 26km to go, right around the finishing circuit of the course.
The finishing circuit featured two climbs, and the duo had a gap of 1 minute and 5 seconds as they hit the circuit. That is precisely where Lodewijk was caught, leaving Vandenbergh to fight off the peloton in the wind.
However, Vandenbergh did not give up. He expanded his lead up to 50 seconds just before the final lap of the circuit, and eventually upped his gap to 1 minute and 10 seconds.
Unfortunately, a last climb did him in, as the peloton cut his lead to 18 seconds and eventually caught him. Still, it was a solid effort for Vandenbergh to stay away for so long.
Sylvain Chavanel countered when Vandenbergh was caught, with several other riders on the climb. He couldn't pull off the stage win, but he made sure he gave Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team a chance at a victory. He finished 8th.