• Bryan Coquard of Vital Concept celebrates as he wins Stage 1 of the Tour of Oman. (Getty)Source: Getty
Bryan Coquard learned from past mistakes to mark a convincing victory at the Tour of Oman, beating Mark Cavendish by about a wheel length to take the first leader’s jersey of the race.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
14 Feb 2018 - 7:27 AM  UPDATED 15 Feb 2018 - 5:20 AM

Coquard, 25, comfortably beat Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) in a straightforward bunch sprint to claim his first scalp of the season with the newly established second-tier Vital Concept squad.

The strong and convincing performance was partly driven by Coquard’s campaign at the Etoile de Besseges last month where he was pipped on the line by Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) after celebrating prematurely on stage two.

"I lost the second stage of Etoile de Besseges because I started celebrating my win and Laporte arrived to my left and he won. Today when I sprinted, the whole time I saw the line and sprinted until the finish line,” the Frenchman said.

“I’m very happy. I have three second places and one third place this season and I wanted a win. This first stage of the Oman tour, it’s perfect, very good lead-out and very perfect sprint from me.”

Stage two of the race has a lumpier course than that of yesterday but Coquard, who is said to be targeting the Ardennes Classics this season, specifically Amstel Gold Race, hasn’t ruled out his chances with a squad he’s clearly and quickly gelled with.

“It’s a very good stage, difficult stage in the finale. I don’t know if I can win but maybe yes,” he said.

Coquard is one of the main stars a Vital Concept, which had hoped for but wasn’t granted a wildcard invitation to the 2018 Tour de France.