Dutchman Robert Gesink grabbed the overall lead of the Tour of Oman from Australian Matthew Goss Friday after winning the hilly fourth stage of the race. On what was the toughest stage in the race climbing specialist Gesink (Rabobank) soloed over the finish line of the 6km-long 'Green Mountain' 47-seconds ahead of Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team SKy) and 51 ahead of Belgian Dries Devenyns (Quick Step). Boasson Hagen is now second overall at 44 behind Gesink ahead of the fifth and penultimate stage Saturday - a time trial over 18.5 km in Al Jissah.
"Everything went as planned," said Gesink. "I wanted to attack two kilometers from the finish and I pulled it off. Then again, it wasn't so easy. When you've got a hilly stage like that so early in the season and you're not yet used to going so deep (in intensity), it's not kind on the legs."
With a 10 percent average gradient and some pitches at 16 percent, the day's final climb was labeled "steeper than Alpe d'Huez", according to race organizer, Belgian legend Eddy Merckx, in reference to the legendary alpine ascension.
Gesink's win is the third in four stages for Rabobank. Fellow Dutchman Theo Bos won the opening stage and also won stage three on Thursday. "Our riders are already in good shape," confirmed sports director Nico Verhoeven.
Tour of Oman: Stage 4
1. Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank 4:03:58
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) @ .47
3. Dries Devenyns (BEL) @ .51
4. Giovanni Visconti (ITA) @ .53
5. Christian Vandevelde (USA) @ s.t.
6. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) @ 1:02
7. Maxime Montfort (BEL) @ 1:05
8. Michael Albasini (SUI) @ 1:05
9. Juan Antonio Flecha (ESP) @ 1:12
10. Patrick Sinkewitz (GER) @ 1:29
1. Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank 16:15:18
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) @ .44
3. Dries Devenyns (BEL) @ .57
4. Christian Vandevelde (USA) @ 1:03
5. Giovanni Visconti (ITA) s.t.
6. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) @ 1:09
7. Maxime Montfort (BEL) @ 1:15
8. Michael Albasini (SUI) s.t.
9. Juan Antonio Flecha (ESP) @ 1:22
10. Patrick Sinkewitz (GER) @ 1:33