Brandle Takes Final Stage of Oman Tour; Valls Wins Overall

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02/23/2015| 0 comments
by Gerald Churchill
Race winner Rafael Valls with Tejay van Garderen and Alejandro Valverde on the general classification podium A.S.O.

Brandle Takes Final Stage of Oman Tour; Valls Wins Overall

Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling) won the 6th and final stage of the 2015 Tour of Oman.

Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling) has won the sixth and final stage of the Tour of Oman. The Austrian soloed away from three breakaway companions in the last three km to take the hilly, 133-km ride from Oman Air to Matrah Corniche in 3:02:31. Iljo Keisse (Etixx-Quick Step) finished second at 0:04, and Jef Van Meirhaeghe (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) took third at 0:13. Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida), who seized the overall lead in Stage 4, claimed overall victory.

Stage 5 had been cancelled because of a sandstorm, but the temperature was cooler than it had been during the rest of the race. In the opening km, Van Meirhaeghe, Keisse, Brandle, and Danny Pate (Sky) jumped into the lead. The quartet was no threat to the overall leaders and was allowed to forge a 9:20 lead by 55 km.

BMC, Movistar, and Cofidis began to chase. The escapees’ lead narrowed to 6:40 at 89 km and 5:20 at 106 km. At the first of three circuits of the finish line, the bunch led the break by 4:30. The pursuit continued to close the gap, but at the beginning of the last lap, the fugitives were 2:15 ahead of the field. With three km left, Brandle made his move on the day’s last climb. The former hour record holder held off Keisse to take the stage win, while Van Meirhaeghe attacked Pate to take third place on the stage.

Brandle sensed that he could win by waiting until the last climb. “It’s always a great feeling to be able to raise your arms on the line in victory,” the IAM Cycling man said. “I had staked everything on the final, and I remained quiet on the final climb with 25 km to go since I could see the guys were still pushing the pedals. With three km to go, I started to give it my all. Today, it worked well and all the guys in the break rode equally hard to make the difference. Personally, I wanted to get a stage victory either at Qatar or Oman, so I just managed to reach my goal on the final day. I felt good, and I hope it will last the rest of my program, which includes Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Tirreno-Adriatico.”

In the overall, Valls beat Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) by 0:09 and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) by 0:19.

For the third straight year, van Garderen finished runner-up in his season-opening race. Last year, van Garderen was also runner-up at the Tour of Oman, to Chris Froome. In 2013, he was second overall to Daniel Diaz at the Tour de San Luis.
"Sometimes when you win, you get a little complacent and you think you are where you need to be," van Garderen explained to "When you get second place, it lights a fire and gets you a bit more motivated. I am going to train hard this next week and stay on track. Hopefully, I can bump it up another level at Paris-Nice 2015."
Van Garderen said the cancellation of Saturday's stage 5, a 151.5-kilometer ride that was to feature four climbs in the last sixty kilometers, was disappointing in more than one way. "I wasn't expecting that we were just going to win the race yesterday. But we definitely had a chance to and I would have liked to have tried, if for no other reason than to get a good race in my legs. We were here to race and I would have liked to have had the opportunity. But we have to live with it and move on."

By winning Tour of Oman, Spaniard Valls has picked up the second win of his career. Will he built on this success to win other victories? Check in at and find out!

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