German sprinter Andre Greipel wins stage three and regains overall lead in 2014 Tour of Oman

Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) stamped his mark on the third stage of the 2014 Tour of Oman on Thursday, winning the stage and putting himself back into the overall race lead.

Greipel put clear space between himself and second-placed Peter Sagan (Cannondale) in the bunch sprint at the end of a testing day over hilly terrain. Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) came home for third with Briton Ben Swift (Sky) in fourth.

Late on in the race it didn’t look like a bunch sprint was on the cards at all, after defending champion Chris Froome (Sky), Sagan, Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and cyclo-cross world champion Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) had formed an escape in the final five kilometres. Despite their efforts and undeniable depth of cycling talent, the quartet were reeled in within the final 1000 metres with Sagan managing to find the energy to hold out for second.

“I have good legs, I’ll say that,” Greipel said at the finish. “I also have the team to set me up for the wins.

“We were just lucky with the headwind on the last climbs but even then it was hard to hang on there, I was pretty far back in the descent.

“The team decided in the headwind that they wanted to ride for me even though today was for [Jurgen] Roelandts or [Tony] Gallopin. That’s why I kept hanging on and the team stayed with me, to bring me up to the front, and in the end I still had two guys to lead me out.”

Stage one winner Greipel is now back on top of the general classification ahead of overnight leader Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEdge), with stage two victor Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) in third.

Friday’s fourth stage takes the riders from Wadi Al Abiyad to the Ministry of Housing over 173km. The second half of the stage includes four punishing ascents of Bousher Alamrat before dropping down to the finish. One for Sagan, perhaps.

Results
Tour of Oman 2014, stage three: Bank Muscat to Al Bustan, 145km
1. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol

2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ
4. Ben Swift (GBr) Sky
5. Marco Canola (Ita) Bardiani CSF
6. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
7. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana
8. Zak Dempster (Aus) Netapp-Endura
9. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
10. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF all same time
Other
43. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky at same time

Overall classification after stage three
1. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol

2. Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 8 secs
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha at 10 secs
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 14 secs
5. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ at 16 secs
6. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 16 secs
7. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Belisol at 19 secs
8. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare at 19 secs
9. Ben Swift (GBr) Sky at 20 secs
10. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo at 20 secs

Andre Greipel wins stage three of the 2014 Tour of Oman

Andre Greipel wins stage three of the 2014 Tour of Oman

Andre Greipel wins stage three of the 2014 Tour of Oman

Andre Greipel wins stage three of the 2014 Tour of Oman

Maaskant escape, stage three, 2014 Tour of Oman

Maaskant escape, stage three, 2014 Tour of Oman

Nicholas Roche attacks on stage three of the 2014 Tour of Oman

Nicholas Roche attacks on stage three of the 2014 Tour of Oman