• Alexander Kristoff wins stage 4 of the 2017 Tour of Oman (Getty)Source: Getty
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) added to his stage 1 victory in Oman, smoothly sailing over the line ahead of Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida) and Greg van Avermaet (BMC) at the stage 4 finish. Ben Hermans (BMC) held on for the overall lead.
By
Cycling Central

18 Feb 2017 - 7:49 AM  UPDATED 18 Feb 2017 - 8:57 AM

The Norwegian classics man powered towards the finale in a group of around 50 riders, all that was left of the main bunch after a short but punishing day in the saddle. 

Kristoff attributed his win to his team mates.

"It was not easy at all as I was dropped again on that last climb but the teammates did an amazing job," he said. 

"First of all, they stayed with me all day, but later they managed to pull it back for me. It was fantastic what Rein Taaramäe, Marco Haller and Reto Hollenstein did till the end.

"Without them I would never have been able to win. We managed to come back and then it was just to me to finish the job in the sprint. It is cool to win like this. This was a real team effort. It cannot get better."

A break of nine riders pulled clear after just eight kilometres and included the dangerous Bob Jungels (Quickstep Floors), one minute and 56 seconds down on GC overnight, and Fabien Doubey (Wanty Groupe Gobert), just one minute and 16 seconds in deficit to Hermans. 

By the top of the second climb at Wadi Al Kabir and 38 kilometres raced, the gap reached a maximum of one minute and 50 seconds when BMC masterfully took control of the bunch. By the top of the third climb, the leaders struggled and soon Jungels was one of three riders discarded by the breakaway. 

With just 25 kilometres to race, the gap was down to 50 seconds and only three of the leaders remained. Axel Domont (AG2R La Mondiale), Stefan Kung (BMC) and Anass Ait El Abdia (UAE Abi Dhabi) were consumed by the main bunch with just 18 kilometres to race. 

Still on the final climb, a group of around 15 riders powered away on the last kilometre to the summit including Hermans and his closest GC rivals Rui Costa (UAE Abi Dhabi) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) but also Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Fabio Aru (Astana). 

In the final 10 kilometres, the group containing Kristoff and Van Avermaet managed to hold on despite a 15 second gap to the new race leaders and attacks from Costa and Fuglsang, making the catch in the dying moments of the stage. 

The win on the 118 kilometre stage was Kristoff's six victory in Oman.

Heading into the queen stage up Green Mountain on stage 5, Hermans holds a five second lead over Costa, adding three seconds to his lead after the second bonus sprint on today's stage. But with just 41 seconds separating the top 15, the race is far from Herman's.