Froome Rises on Green Mountain; Wins Stage 5 of Tour of Oman
In impressive fashion, Team Sky Pro Cycling's Chris Froome rose from the ashes when he took the victory on Jabal Al Akhdhar, also known as the Green Mountain, thereby proving his intention to continue his career on the high note that brought him the victory in last year's Tour de France.
A group of 14 riders gathered at the front for the final battle of the day. The group featured eventual stage winner Froome and three of his teammates, Belkin's Robert Gesink, Joaquin Rodriguez, Daniel Moreno, Team BMC Racing's Tejay van Garderen, Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Pozzovivo, Bardet (both ALM), Tinkoff-Saxo's Roman Kreuziger and Team FDJ's Jeannesson. After Froome's teammate Sergio Henao took off with just over 2 kilometers to go and was countered by Gesink, it was up to Froome to deliver the final punch. The Brit caught Henao and accelerated past him. With just a kilometer to go, Froome had a 12 second lead over Uran and Van Garderen, and was 33 seconds ahead of Pozzovivo and Rodriguez, with a Nibali-led group tailing at 1 minutes and 15 seconds behind.
The 2013 Tour of Oman winner eventually crossed the finish line with a 22 second advantage over Van Garderen and 33 seconds ahead of Uran. Froome clocked a record-breaking time of 18 minutes and 33 seconds on the climb, beating the previous record of 19 minutes and 14 seconds established by Rodriguez in last year's race. Thanks to his success, the Sky rider captures the overall leader’s red jersey and has what analysts call a comfortable 26 second lead over Van Garderen and 31 seconds over Uran with only one stage to go.
Commenting on his second place finish in today's stage van Garderen told Roadcycling.com "Everyone looked pretty tired, so I countered Gesink. My thoughts were, if I could get away clean up to Henao, that Froome would maybe be kind of flicked because he wouldn't be able to chase down his teammate. He would be stuck there tactically. But he was able to jump straight away onto my wheel."
"So it was me, Froome and Rigoberto Uran closing down on Henao. When Froome countered, that was the last we saw of him. I just made a tempo up to the top. I didn't even try to follow. I thought if I tried to follow, I might blow up."
The Green Jersey remains on the shoulders of Greipel while Frenchman Romain Bardet, who finished 8th in today's stage, now leads the best young rider classification. Once again present in the day’s long breakaway, Preben Van Hecke is in control of the most aggressive rider classification.