• Edvald Boasson Hagen celebrates his win on of the 5th stage at the Tour of Oman 2016 (AAP/ EPA/SEBASTIEN NOGIER) (AAP)Source: AAP
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) has continued a hot run of form winning the fifth stage of the Tour of Oman and further shortening his odds for the Spring Classics.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
21 Feb 2016 - 8:47 AM 

The 28-year-old won a reduced group sprint from Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Marco Canola (UnitedHealthcare) to claim his second victory of the race on Saturday.

Boasson Hagen was able to conserve energy during the short but very punchy 119.5km stage as his Dimension Data teammate Jacques Janse Van Rensburg was in the remnants of the primary break caught within the last five kilometres.

“In the end I was focused on sitting in the front, we waited late and came with the lead-out into the last corner and it worked out perfectly. I’m really happy for what the team did today it was great team work,” he said.

“I’m happy to manage two victories now. I hope to keep the form and get even better. The goal is to be up there in the Classics.”

Once the race was altogether, the Norwegian national champion was guided along a technical finish before new Australian teammate Nathan Haas dropped him off with about 150m to go.

“It’s so nice when it comes off and today was just textbook,” Haas said.

“Today was a really good race, you know, we had Rensburg at the start do the most insane thing I’ve ever seen to get into a breakaway. He was inspirational and he almost held it but the speed just brought him back. We then lined it up for a sprint. Ghebremedhin Kudus was the second last man, which is hilarious, I think he is 54 kilos.”

Boasson Hagen has marked a strong start to the season with three victories and counting, which is just over half of his total 2015 campaign. The triumphs have been good for confidence ahead of a Classics programme set to include Milan-San Remo, E3-Harelbeke, Ghent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

Vincenzo Nibali continues to lead the tour with one stage on Sunday remaining. His Astana team was strong during the penultimate race from Yiti to the Muscat Ministry of Tourism. It controlled the tempo at the front of the peloton, which let a three-man escape including Janse Van Rensburg, Pieter Weening (Roompot Oranje Peloton) and Hugo Houle (AG2R La Mondiale) go early and establish a maximum time gap in excess of six minutes.

Houle dropped off on one of the three ascents of the feature Bousher Al Amerat climb that shattered the peloton.

Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), who remains second overall, attacked the leader’s jersey group along with George Bennett (Lotto NL-Jumbo) on the last climb but Astana countered the move before the gap to the break rapidly decreased and Dimension Data again made its mark.

“The final was very nervous,” Nibali said. “They tried to attack us but we replied without many problems. I have not yet won this Tour of Oman, tomorrow is another day.

“The boys have helped me a lot. I have to thank them so much.”

Australia's Brendan Canty (Drapac) remains the best young rider.