Since making it into the break on the opening stage of the Tour of Oman, Patrick Konrad (Bora-Argon 18) has been sitting at the top of the young rider’s classification and third overall, just five seconds behind race leader Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing). It is lofty company for the promising 23-year-old, who only turned professional with NetApp-Endura last season.
The Austrian finished safely in the bunch on stage three to maintain his lead in the white jersey competition but there was a tinge of disappointment as the team’s sprinter Sam Bennett ended up out of position and was unable to contest the sprint.
“I’m really happy to stay in the white jersey to be also up front in the GC,” Konrad told Cyclingnews before the podium ceremony. “Today we tried to make a good result in the sprint with Sam but it wasn’t sometimes it doesn’t work out how you want. Everybody wanted to win, and now we are looking forward to tomorrow. My team always supports me really well so we will see what happens tomorrow.”
Konrad took the jersey after earning bonus seconds in the intermediate sprint on stage one to Al Wutayyah. However, it was his performance on the much tougher stage two that helped him maintain that position. The Bora rider held onto the lead group, despite attacks from race favourites such as Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC).
Konrad will go into the Queen stage of the race with a precious five-second lead over Peter Sagan in the youth classification. While the Slovakian is unlikely to trouble him on the 10-kilometre climb up Green Mountain, the likes of MTN-Qhubeka’s Louis Meintjes could and Giant-Alpecin’s Warren Barguil could be seriously tough competitors over the coming days. He’s not going to give it up that easily and hopes that he can secure a strong placing in the overall classification to boot.
“I will fight for it but of course tomorrow is a really hard day but we will see. I feel not so bad and my team has been supporting me really well so we will see what happens at the end of the day,” said Konrad. “The climb tomorrow is really different the climb is really long and also steeper. We will see if I can stay with the best and if I can stay in the top 10 in the GC then it would be great.”