Nathan Haas has left the Tour of Oman after stage one as a precaution to his impending spring classics campaign.
Sophie Smith

17 Feb 2019 - 11:28 AM  UPDATED 17 Feb 2019 - 11:39 AM

Haas (Katusha-Alpecin) finished the 138.5km flat opener that Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) triumphed in overnight but will not continue at the race he was successful at last season.

The 29-year-old said he is still suffering from lingering effects of a chest infection, which he contracted at the Tour Down Under. The infection saw him side-lined from the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and observe about two weeks off the bike.

“It’s the life of a bike rider, it’s all very hard until it’s all very easy,” he said past the Gulf seafront finish line in Suhar, Oman on Saturday.

“It’s always fun to race in Oman. I still didn’t feel myself on the bike, but it was a cool stage going along the coastline, parts of it is super stunning. The finish looked pretty exciting. I saw it from the back, but it looked like a cool race.”

Kristoff opens season tally in Oman
Alexander Kristoff unusually compared himself to new teammates after winning stage one of the Tour of Oman overnight that was tailor-made to sprinters less versatile than himself.

Oman has previously been a happy hunting ground for Haas, who won a stage ahead of Greg Van Avermaet last year and placed fifth overall.  

Haas arrived in Oman from Australia and will now return to his Europe base in Girona, Spain to recover. He is due to compete at Strade Bianche next then Milan-San Remo and Volta a Catalunya before tackling the Ardennes Classics.

The Australian has put emphasis on the Ardennes as well as the first Monument of the season. He has changed his European race program, and dropped stage races including Tirreno-Adriatico, in an attempt to be more competitive in spring.

“This year we’re taking a laid-back approach from Australia, Oman. I get form so quickly, but it also disappears pretty fast for me as well,” he said earlier this week. “We’re trying an approach where I train a lot and then just come in for the one-day races. I think that should put me in better stead for the Ardennes, which for me, still Amstel is the ultimate goal.”