Tom Boonen's began in promising fashion when he claimed two stage wins in the Tour of Qatar, but the Paris-Roubaix winner hasn’t been able to use that form to good effect in the Tour of Oman. Boonen has so far been shut out in the Tour of Oman, finishing no higher than fourth in the first three stages, all of which have ended in sprints.
His highest finish of fourth came in Tuesday's third stage, and the explanation for not winning was simple. "Edvald Boasson Hagen was too fast for us," Boonen told Sporza.be. The young Norwegian with Team Sky cemented his overall lead by easily outsprinting his rivals.
Quick Step tried to set up the sprint for its former World Champion, but it didn't work out, with Boonen apparently waiting too long to start his sprint. “I don't know where I finished,” he said after the stage.
According to Directeur Sportif Wilfried Peeters, the other teams have been passing Boonen on both sides in the final sprints. “To avoid this, we formed a sprint train, but of course that's never a guarantee of success.”
Wednesday's fourth stage is the race's longest, at 187km. There are two serious climbs in the stage, but the last 50 km are flat, so another sprint finish is not out of the question.