Daniele Bennati (Leopard Trek) could hardly believe that he had been beaten yet again in the sprint.
He has now racked up four second places, two thirds and a fourth in nine days of racing at the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman. He is consistently well positioned after excellent support work from his teammates, but someone has always had that extra edge of speed before the line and snatches away victory.
"Second again," he said with a mix of laughing and disbelief after finishing runner-up to Theo Bos in stage three at the Tour of Oman. "The name of the winner keeps changing but I keep missing out. It's incredible.
"All I can hope is that it means I'm destined to win a big, big race later in the season. I hope so. My form is good, and I'm always up there in the sprint but it just hasn't happened yet."
Bennati was well placed on Bos's wheel and survived the switching and fighting for position. He admitted he didn't have the sprinting speed to match the former track world champion.
"Brown launched the sprint for Bos and I was on his wheel but I couldn't get past him," he said. "Unfortunately every sprinter was up for this stage and they all had got their teams working for them."
Still no win for the new super team
Bennati's Leopard Trek team was described as the new super squad of the peloton after creating the world's number one ranked team from scratch. Surprisingly the team has yet to win a race this season despite all the hype about the quality of their roster.
Here in Oman, Bennati has the support of Fabian Cancellara, Stuart O'Grady, Maxime Monfort, Joost Posthuma, Wouter Weylandt, Jakob Fuglsang and Davide Viganò. They have all worked tirelessly for Bennati and he rightly made a point of thanking them.
"I have to thank my teammates yet again for the work they did for me. I'm really sorry I didn't win because we're a great group and they've worked really hard for me and put their trust in me time and time again," he said.
"I haven't won but I'm not getting discouraged. My morale is good because my form is getting better and better. Now we've got the mountain finish and the time trial, but there's still one last sprint finish to go for on Sunday."
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