Champion System’s Traksel Most Aggressive In Oman Opener
Bobbie Traksel of the Champion System Pro Cycling Team earned the most aggressive rider jersey on the opening stage of the Tour of Oman Monday.
Traksel immediately attacked after the official start of the 162-kilometer stage and only Kohei Uchima (Japan) followed. The pair rapidly built a lead of nearly nine-and-a-half minutes on the peloton, with Traksel winning both intermediate sprints and being first over the top of the only categorized climb of the day.
“I really wanted to get up the road and get good exposure for Champion System,” Traksel said. “I knew if I could make an escape, I would have a chance for a jersey and it worked out really well."
With such a strong line-up at the UCI 2.HC race – one that includes two of the last three grand tour winners and the world road champion – Stage 1 was the ideal opportunity to try for a special jersey, Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said.
"It's great for the moral to get a guy on the podium, especially this early in the race,” Beamon said.
Inside the final 30 km, Traksel sat up and let Uchima head off solo. The chasing peloton soon swept him up, setting the stage up for a sprint finish. Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) won the stage to take the leader's red jersey.
Traksel finished 77th in the same time as Kittel. Helped by six seconds in time bonuses, the 13-year Dutch professional sits in third overall, four seconds back of Kittel.
About the only setback for Champion System on the day was a crash in the final two kilometers. Chun Kai Feng and Chan Jae Jang were two of four riders who went down when the road suddenly narrowed.
"They were both pretty banged up and at first we thought Chun Kai may have a wrist problem," Beamon said. "But it appears they are both OK, although Chan Jae is pretty cut up."
Champion System will have an opportunity to defend the jersey as the six-day race continues Tuesday with a 146 km stage that features two intermediate sprints and two categorized climbs.
“I think it's good for the team because now we have a good goal to focus on this week,” Traksel said.