Marcel Kittel sprinted to victory for Argos-Shimano on stage one at Tour of Oman
Last Updated: 12/02/13 4:29pm
Marcel Kittel: Picked up what could be the first of many wins this season
Marcel Kittel opened his win account for 2013 with a sprint victory on stage one at the Tour of Oman.
The powerful German profited from work from his Argos-Shimano team during the day to take the opening stage and an early race lead in the Arab state.
Kittel held off the advances of French pair Davide Appollonio (AG2R La Mondiale) and Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) in the grounds of Sultan Qaboos University to open up a four-second lead at the top of the standings.
A number of big names in the field including Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome along with Alberto Contador (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) were content to keep their powder dry as they wait for more selective stages later in the race.
Wiggins survived a late scare after a crash in front of the Brit caused him to slow up with two kilometres remaining, the 3km rule likely allowing the Tour de France winner to resume the race on Tuesday without time loss.
Earlier the action kicked off on the coast with the peloton rolling out of Al Musannah ahead of 162km and a stage which looked tailor-made for the sprinters.
An early break met the approval of the bunch as Bobbie Traksel (Champion System) and Kohei Uchima (Japan National) built up a healthy advantage of 9:30 on the pack.
After cresting the single categorised climb of the day at Rustaq the gap was trimmed with Orica-GreenEDGE and Argos-Shimano patrolling the front of the peloton.
With none of the big names sticking their necks out to scoop the final bonus seconds things came back together in time for a sprint and a win for Kittel - bouncing back after a disappointing Tour Down Under.
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano, 4:04.59; 2 Davide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale, same time; 3 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ, st; 4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha, st; 5 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st; 6 Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing, st; 7 Filippo Fortin (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox, st; 8 Kristof Goddaert (Bel) IAM Cycling, st; 9 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale, st; 10 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana, st
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano, 4:04.49; 2 Davide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale, +4secs; 3 Bobbie Traksel (Ned) Champion System, +4; 4 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ, +6; 5 Dominique Rollin (Can)FDJ, +9; 6 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox, st; 7 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha, +10; 8 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +10; 9 Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing, +10; 10 Filippo Fortin (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox, +10