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Feb 18, 2015 – Swiss veteran Fabian Cancellara, riding for Trek, shrugged off a heavy cold to win the second stage of the Tour of Oman and take the overall lead, following a 195.5km ride from Al Hazm Castle to Al Bustan, on Wednesday. Our photographer Kåre Dehlie Thorstad is on scene and captured his magnificent win
AFP/Kåre Dehlie Thorstad
The former Olympic and world champion, known as ‘Spartacus’, managed to keep pace with the leading group of some 20 riders until the final two minor climbs before launching a sprint that left Spaniard Alejandro Valverde in second and Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium settling for third spot.
“It was a long, difficult sprint, because it was all uphill, but I’m really satisfied,” said Cancellara, who won the first edition of the Tour of Oman in 2010.
“I told myself it wasn’t going to be a great day because I was so hot but we took a different direction near the sea and the temperature came down a few degrees. “I just tried to follow the best climbers with the strength I had left. I know in a few years, it’s going to be finished for me so I’m just trying to benefit now.”
Cancellara, 33, who won eight stages on the Tour de France between 2004 and 2012 and was a regular wearer of the yellow jersey, takes the leader’s red tunic, after a scorching hot day, with a four-second lead over Valverde going into Thursday’s third stage.
Austrian Patrick Konrad is third, five seconds back, as the peloton now look ahead to stage three and a 158km run that begins and finishes at the Al Mussanah Sports City, bordering the Sea of Oman. Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali of Italy and Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez lost 46 and 55sec respectively after losing touch with the escape group. Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, who was third in last year’s Tour de France, had a day to forget and lost 4min 59sec to see his race hopes crumble.