Alejandro Valverde tries final attack into Matrah Corniche's circuit, confirms third place overall behind Valls (LAM), Van Garderen (BMC)
Spaniard Rafa Valls (LAM) is the winner of the 6th Tour of Oman after Matthias Brändle (IAM) took a long break to fruition today on stage six, over 131km from Oman Air to the Matrah Corniche, next to the sultanate's capital. The Movistar Team finished the race with a 14th spot by José Joaquín Rojas into the group sprint led by Peter Sagan (TCS, 5th), and most especially with the overall podium -third, behind Valls and Tejay Van Garderen (BMC)- by Alejandro Valverde, who even tried to improve his final position with an attack into the closing circuit, neutralized by the field.
The telephone squad will get back home after their first 'full tournée' in Asia with a victory -the brilliant sprint by José Joaquín Rojas in Qatar, earning him 24 hours in the race lead-, four stage podiums -two from Valverde, 2nd in Dubai and also last Wednesday across Al Bustan's finish; two from Lobato, 3rd into the last two days in Dubai- and two presences on the GC podiums thanks to Juanjo (3rd in Dubai) and Alejandro, who joined Lastras by doing the whole tour of three races.
FINAL REFLECTIONS / Alejandro Valverde:
Attacking until the very end: "I jumped across with 3.5km remaining to see if I could improve my overall result. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, because we would be facing headwinds when we took a turn with 2.5km to go, so keeping a gap alive would be hard, but we had to try. I was brought back with 1.5km remaining, but I'm happy with my work today and throughout the whole week."
Green Mountain: "I didn't know how I'd really respond on Friday – I actuall knew I wasn't feeling bad, more or less I was rolling good, but since Mallorca, I hadn't climbed a long ascent, we had spent lots of days always on the big chanring and small gears… and Green Mountain was extremely hard. I didn't feel good nor bad at all, just wasn't able to find the right speed to tackle it. Still, I'm satisfied with the result: Rafa's win was a strong show and Van Garderen had already been runner-up in this race a year ago, was really motivated to do well."
Saturday's cancellation: "About what happened yesterday, I was going to be agree with the choice the whole collective took. It's true that safety comes first, and obviously a descent like that, taken at 90-100kph, having to brake almost to stand – it would have made things really complicated, but I'm also a bit sad because I really felt well prior to the stage and we could have tried something to turn the GC upside down. We could have improved or worsened our final result, but I choice was taken not to continue and I was OK with it."
Next goals: "This tour around the desert was good, a beautiful experience. Now we will take some rest and then head to Strade Bianche and the Volta a Catalunya, which we'll chain almost immediately with the classics."