Astana may have lost any chance of overall victory at the Tour of Oman with Vincenzo Nibali but the team still has hopes for the general classification. Jakob Fuglsang and Andrei Grivko both made it into the front group, keeping alive their hopes of a solid overall finish with three stages still remaining.
Thanks to his climbing pedigree, Fuglsang will be the favourite to lead the team to a good overall result but with one rider already out of contention they won’t put all their eggs into one basket.
“I think I will be the leader for the GC, and maybe share it with Grivko. We will have to see how it goes and if he can go full gas on the climb,” Fuglsang told Cyclingnews at the start of stage three of the Tour of Oman. “A lot of things can happen and they predict more wind tomorrow so we have to be careful too.”
Fuglsang is making his season debut in Oman, as are many of his teammates, after only racing for six days since finishing last year’s Tour de France. With an frenetic finish to the second stage and the temperatures constantly hovering around 35 degrees or higher, the Danish rider is feeling his efforts of the first two days of racing this season.
“I feel them (his legs) a little bit but I guess it’s also because of the heat. In general I’m feeling pretty happy with being up there yesterday, it’s my first race and I’m happy to be up at the front in the race,” he said.
Two more tough stages still await the riders, with the summit finish on Green Mountain on Friday, and the undulating finale of stage five, where Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) lead home a group of 23 riders in 2014. There could yet be a lot of shuffling in the general classification during those two stages with several non-climbers still populating the top positions in the GC. Fuglsang hopes to make the most of the terrain.
“I will try to do my best and try to stay up there,” he said. “In general I think I will climb a little better than (Andrey) Grivko but he is also in really good shape at the moment but I will try to do my best and hopefully be able to get a good position on the climb tomorrow.”