Champion System's Traksel Keeps Aggressive Jersey In Oman
Champion System Pro Cycling Team’s Bobbie Traksel preserved his lead in the most aggressive rider classification Thursday on Stage 4 at the Tour of Oman while teammate Matthias Friedemann was part of a five-man break.
Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said that protecting Traksel’s standing was a top priority, but the Dutchman also needed to recover after spending three consecutive days in breakaways. Ideally, other riders would represent Champion System in what was bound to be a powerful breakaway and secure points to protect Traksel’s jersey, he said.
“It was a very fast start and very aggressive,” Beamon said. “But the guys played it well and got Matthias into the key escape.”
Eleven kilometers into the 152.5 km stage, Gregory Rast (Radioshack-Leopard) and Gatis Smukulis (Katusha Team) attacked the peloton. Friedemann, Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team) and Andreas Schillinger (NetApp-Endura) quickly followed. The peloton kept the escapees in check all day, never allowing them to gain an advantage of more than 4:25. Friedemann was runner-up through the first intermediate sprint and won the second, helping protect Traksel’s lead.
“We are all focused on helping Bobbie keep the combative jersey,” Friedemann said. “Today it was my job to get into the breakaway to give Bobbie a little rest.”
“Matthias was able to grab some critical points and keep Bobbie’s jersey secure going into another very hard stage tomorrow,” Beamon said.
Ascending Green Mountain, the five-man breakaway was caught and race favorites, who included Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team), attacked. Inside the final kilometer, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) took off, winning the mountaintop finish solo. Chris Froome (Sky Procycling), runner-up on the stage, moved into the leader's red jersey.
In the most aggressive rider standings, Traksel leads Christian Delle Stelle (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inxo) by nine points with two days of racing to go.
Chun Kai Feng, who was 26th on the stage, remains Champion System's best-placed rider overall in 32nd (4:06 behind). While protecting Traksel’s lead in the most aggressive rider classification is a top priority, the team is also keeping an eye on Kai Feng’s general classification, Beamon said.
“I’m pleased with his effort on the climb,” Beamon said. “This is a new level of competition for him. As he learns more, he is going to be an important factor in hard races like this.”
Friday’s 144 km penultimate stage features two intermediate sprints and two categorized climbs.