Chris Froome retains Tour of Oman title as Andre Greipel triumphs on final stage
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: 23/02/14 4:08pm
Chris Froome claimed victory ahead of Tejay van Garderen, left, and Rigoberto Uran, right
Chris Froome has completed overall victory at the Tour of Oman for the second year in succession after safely negotiating Sunday's sixth and final stage in Muscat.
The Team Sky rider, who had charged into the race lead with a solo triumph on stage five, avoided incident in a frantic sprint finish won by Germany's Andre Greipel at the Matrah Corniche.
Froome followed in the main bunch to seal a 26-second victory over second-placed Tejay van Garderen (BMC), with Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) claiming the last place on the podium a further five seconds back.
The win gets Froome's 2014 season off to the perfect start and sounds an ominous warning to his main rivals ahead of this summer's Tour de France.
He told teamsky.com afterwards: "At the end it was really tricky because we knew we had to be in a good position and not risk any significant time splits, but we achieved what we set out to achieve. To get the overall victory was a nice reward for everyone.
"I still feel like I have got a lot of work to do - a lot of room for improvement - but at this stage in the season, I'm where I need to be. This has been a really good experience for me as it is the start of my build up to the Tour de France."
Greipel, meanwhile, claimed his third victory of the race and sixth of the season by beating Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) into second place and Ireland's Sam Bennett (NetApp-Endura) into third.
Andre Greipel outsprinted Nacer Bouhanni
It was 23-year-old Bennett's first podium finish as a professional and continues a promising start to the campaign following his switch from An Post-Chainreaction over the winter.
The sixth stage, which took the riders 146.5km from As Sifah to the Matrah Corniche, had earlier seen a hectic battle to form a breakaway.
Three men were finally allowed to go clear midway through the day, but they were caught just over 1km from home as the sprint trains succeeded in setting up a bunch finish.
Stage six result
1 Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol, 3:25:41
2 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ, same time
3 Sam Bennett (Ire) NetApp-Endura, st
4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha, st
5 Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo, st
6 Filippo Fortin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF, st
7 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
8 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge, st
9 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana, st
10 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale, st
Final general classification
1 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, 22:02:26
2 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC, +26secs
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +31
4 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, +48
5 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin, +57
6 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +1:01
7 Sergio Henao (Col) Team Sky, +1:19
8 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo, +1:25
9 Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling, +1:32
10 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha, +1:34