JJ Haedo (Saxo Bank) was unable to beat to Tom Boonen (Quick Step) in the sprint that decided stage five of the Tour of Oman but the Argentinean was pleased to have pushed Boonen so close and pick yet another good result.
Haedo finished third in two stages at the Tour of Qatar and was fifth on another. He was 13th on stage four in Oman, but more importantly, he was in the front echelon that decided the race. On other days he helped teammates Baden Cooke and Stuart O'Grady by providing some excellent leadouts and even helped his younger brother Lucas Sebastien in other sprints.
"I should be proud of a second place like that but we've been so close for two weeks now, it's not something that makes us happy at the moment," he said to Cyclingnews as he tried to recover from his effort.
"The legs are okay, it's just a matter of timing. Today I was trying to help (Baden) Cookie and so I burned some matches before the sprint. Then when I went, I went really well, but Boonen got my wheel and caught me on the line."
Haedo is an aggressive sprinter and was not afraid to bump shoulders with Boonen but he is professional and did not even think of trying to block Boonen against the barriers.
"It was on the right, then the middle and then I went to the right. But I didn't close the gate on Tom. I'm not the kind of sprinter who'd try to kill someone for a win," he said.
Saxo Bank have ridden well in the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman but missed out on victory. However the consolation is the excellent team spirit that has developed during two weeks on the road together.
We're just lacking a win to break our luck," Haedo admitted. "We've been riding well, and we had five guys in the front when it split yesterday. We didn't win that stage but at least the team is working well and as a unit. That's important for the future. The guys really know each other now."
After a big block of early-season racing, Haedo will take a break while some of his teammates here in Oman will head quickly to Belgium for Het Nieuwsblad.
"I'm riding Paris-Nice and then the Vuelta a Catalunya. So I'll leave these guys to go to Belgium and have some fun in the cold," he said, with a laugh.