Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung got the Tour of Oman off to a good start with Johann van Zyl being the main protagonist of the first stage. The win however went to Andrea Gaurdini (Astana) with Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quickstep) and Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
It was inside the first kilometre of the day that Johann went on the attack with 3 other riders. The quartet built up a good early lead of just over 5 minutes with 50km completed.
After passing through the feedzone, Johann tried to inject a bit more life into the move and ended up going away solo. His 3 companions were then reeled in by the bunch as the young South African put his head down for the line.
Johann was able to hold the gap steady at 3 minutes for quite some time before the sprinters teams decided to begin chasing our lone attacker. The firepower in the peloton ensured the race was back together with just 25km to go.
Driving the bunch to the line, Katusha, Tinkoff-Saxo and Lampre all had a strong presence at the front of the bunch. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were looking to Edvald Boasson Hagen and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg for the sprint but the battle for position was intense and our African team would have Edvald finish in 17th position.
Jens Zemke – Head of Performance
"Today Johann put in a really great ride. He was in the front from almost kilometer zero and was caught around 25km to go after spending the last 50km in the break solo. He is now 5th on the general classification and this is a good start for our team. Our best sprinter today was Edvald, finishing just inside the top 20."