Peter Velits had a one second general classification lead going into the final stage of Tour of Oman after battling Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) on Green Mountain at Stage 5 of Tour of Oman. The flat Stage 6, which finished in a circuit on Sunday, played out exactly as the team wished, finishing with a field sprint and giving Velits the overall victory.
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team chased down a three rider break consisting of Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Barracuda), Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Barracuda) and Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank), which had as much as a one minute, 30 second gap with 7 km out of the 130.5km race covered. Furthermore, knowing the break had the potential to stay away, the team also chased down sprint points. Tom Boonen took lap points just before three laps to go on the course. It was a complete team effort to keep Velits in the red leader's jersey on Sunday.
"It's a great day, one of the best in my career," Velits said after crossing the finish line. "During the race there was only a moment of panic when Nibali seemed to have gotten second place behind Boonen during the intermediate sprint. Luckily it was just a mistake in transcribing numbers from radio infos and the momentary fear quickly dissipated. The team controlled the race perfectly, easily taking me to the finish line. It's my first win in a stage race, I am very happy. It's a great beginning to the season, even though I'm aware the big races are still to come. What's most important, though, is my state of form. Compared to the past, I have changed my approach to the season and I can see the results. It will be important to go on like this and keep growing race after race. Our next race appointment will be the Tirreno-Adriatico, a very important race in which I wish to do well. I will train on my Specialized TTbike, too, in the next few days, in order to prepare for the two time-trial stages at the Tirreno. Tonight, though, I just want to celebrate this win with the whole team, to whom I dedicate this success. I wouldn't have been able to win without their help.
Marcel Kittel (Project 1t4i) won the stage on Sunday. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) took 2nd, and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda) 3rd.
Nibali and Tony Gallopin (Radioshack-Nissan) rounded out the overall podium.
Velits' victory is the 17th of the season for Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team.
"It's very satisfying for our team," said Sports Director Wilfried Peeters. "We've already won three stage races since the beginning of the season, we've had a total 17 wins (3 in cyclo-cross, 1 on track, 13 on road) from January to today, with 7 different cyclists. In road cycling, we won with 5 different athletes, proving that the work we did and the training programs we followed during the winter were valid. We're coming back from the trip to Qatar and Oman with a really rich reward, the best results we ever had. We now must continue with the same spirit in the next few races, with the goal of being among the protagonists in the most important races that will take place in March and April."