• Sophie Smith Interviews Nathan Haas at the 2018 Tour of Oman. (Getty)Source: Getty
Nathan Haas stayed in overall contention at the Tour of Oman yesterday, refusing to be shelled from the reduced group that ultimately contested the fourth stage.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
17 Feb 2018 - 12:15 PM 

The 28-year-old was one of only a few fast-men left in the sprint for line honours following the punchy stage that saw kilometre zero commence uphill.

Haas placed sixth behind stage winner Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana), taking a brief respite past the finish by Muscat's Ministry of Tourism after a hard day in which his Katusha-Alpecin team did its share over three ascents of the defining Al Jabal Street climb that whittled down the bunch.

Cort Nielsen grabs a maiden win for Astana
Magnus Cort Nielsen turned the tables on a crash-marred transition to Astana over the off-season, winning Stage 4 of the Tour of Oman.

"We kind of got to the climb and everyone started going slow because BMC had fried everyone all day. The aim was to cook [Alexander] Kristoff, [Nacer] Bouhanni and [Bryan] Coquard, guys like that, and obviously we did it," Haas said.

The Australian was left to remonstrate his final dash to the finish line where contrary to stage two, which he won, he followed the wheel of race leader Greg Van Avermaet (BMC).

"In the end, BMC really didn't get up there at all," he said of the home straight.

"It wasn't that they did bad, it's just that Astana did really well. Sometimes you pick the right wheel and sometimes you pick the wrong one. Today, I chose the dude with the gold flakes on the bike and didn't win."

Haas sits third overall ahead of today's penultimate queen stage to Green Mountain that should decide the final standings.

The general classification was almost an afterthought to Haas in the immediate wake of yesterday's desert scorcher, but not completely out of mind.

"To be honest, this race was sort of about stage two, three and four. I got the first one, which was nice and good for the confidence," he said.

"I did well on Green Mountain last year, I was ninth. If I can do that again that would be great. If I can go a little higher, that would be even better.

"I'm really happy with where I'm climbing so tomorrow if I can just control it and contain myself when the real accelerations go then you never know.

"I'd be really happy with a top five and ecstatic with a podium."

Haas beats Van Avermaet to take Oman lead
Nathan Haas was close to tears after he won stage two and took the race lead of the Tour of Oman yesterday, screaming repeatedly in equal joy and relief as he crossed the line.