• Alexander Kristoff (L) won stage 1 of the 8th Tour of Oman. (Bettini Photo)Source: Bettini Photo
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) beat Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) to the finish to capture the 2017 Tour of Oman opening stage.
Cycling Central

15 Feb 2017 - 7:47 AM  UPDATED 16 Feb 2017 - 6:17 AM

The end of the 176.5km from Al Sawadi Beach  to  Naseem Park was marred by a crash inside the final 700 metres with Tom Boonen (Quick-Step Floors) one of the casualties. He finished the stage with a bloodied back and elbow.

The stage victory also gave Kristoff possession of the leader's jersey ahead of the second stage to be held over 145km from Nakhal to Al Bustan.

"Of course, all in the peloton looked at us, as we were the favourites with me as one of the best sprinters, so we had to take control of the race from the beginning," Kristoff said.

"Quick -Step Floors helped and later on also Sunweb. Our team did an amazing job. In the end, they all contributed for the lead-out. We knew the finish from last year and knew that we had to come to the front a little bit late, especially because of the straight road and the head wind.

"We waited in the bunch quite a long time. Just in the end, with 300 meters to go, we hit the front. It was still tough with the head wind, but our lead-out was perfect. Marco Haller and Michael Mørkøv were the last guys to bring me to the ideal position but also Nils Politt helped a lot. This is a great feeling. I hope we can continue this way."

The break of the day included Larry Warbasse (Aqua Blue Sport), Aime De Gendt (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Alan Marangoni (Nippo-Vini Fantini ), Giuseppe Fonzi (Wilier Triestina) and Christophe Masson (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect). Not too concerned by the early break, the peloton took it easy as the gap grew to 3min30sec.

Like Kristoff, De Gendt also had a big day, winning the two intermediate sprints, status as the most aggressive rider and claiming the best young rider's jersey - the catch came with 10km left to race.

Kristoff leads the general classification with a four-second advantage over Sbaragli and six over Colbrelli, and also holds the points classification lead.