Traksel Keeps His Grip On Aggressive Jersey In Oman
Champion System Pro Cycling Team's Bobbie Traksel protected his lead in the most aggressive rider classification on Friday's penultimate stage of the Tour of Oman.
Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said he knew the 144-kilometer race would be difficult for all the riders, so he was glad Traksel got into breakaways on the race's first three stages to build a nearly insurmountable lead in the classification.
"I can't say we defended the jersey today," Beamon said. "But we certainly kept it."
Friday's stage proved to be a battle between the race favorites that began with a flurry when nine riders escaped after 11 km. This group was kept in check, never gaining more than 2:45, before being caught less than 15 km from the finish. That set up a battleground on the third ascent of the climb of the day on the circuitous route.
Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha Team) and Christopher Froome (Sky Procycling) summited it ahead of a splintered peloton. Froome then won the three-up sprint at the finish to hang onto the leader's red jersey for the second consecutive day.
In the most aggressive rider standings, only Jesus Hernandez (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) is close enough to Traksel to take the jersey in Saturday's 144 km race. But closing an eight-point gap to the Dutchman would take an extraordinary effort, Beamon said.
"It looks like only Hernandez can only catch Bobbie now if he takes maximum points tomorrow on both sprints and the king of the mountain," Beamon said.
Chun Kai Feng, who finished 47th on the stage, remains Champion System's best-placed rider overall in 32nd (6:08 behind). In addition to protecting Traksel's jersey, Beamon said he is pleased with how Kai Feng and the team's other new signees are performing on the world stage.
"I am very happy with the climbing from him and Ryota Nishizono," Beamon said. "This is their first race at this level against the best stage racers in the world and they are staying close to the leaders on these difficult climbs."