After winning stage 1 at the Tour of Oman (opens in new tab) with an uphill sprint in the vacant surroundings of the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, Fernando Gaviria (opens in new tab) could only finish fourth in the stage 2 sprint on the coast at Suhar Corniche.
The UAE Team Emirates sprinter won from the front on day one, with long-time lead out man Max Richeze putting in a big turn to set-up yet another win for the pairing.
On Friday's seemingly more straightforward finish Gaviria found himself boxed in near the barriers during the dash to the line, eventually finishing fourth behind winner Mark Cavendish (opens in new tab) (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), who claimed both the red overall and green points jersey from the Colombian.
Despite defeat, Gaviria was outwardly serene, even philosophical, about having missed out on doubling up in the second of likely only three sprint stages at the race.
"It was a little bit strange in the end, but it's like that in cycling. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,” he said.
"I'm really happy because my team worked really hard for me today and that is the job – you enjoy the victories and enjoy the loss. We'll see with the next stages, and for sure we will try again. I'm happy with my performance."
Gaviria sprinted against the barriers to avoid the wind blowing across the finish from his right but found himself boxed in by Arkéa-Samsic fastman Amaury Capiot, who last month claimed his first career victory at the GP La Marseillaise.
Gaviria argued that he didn't lose the sprint because of his sprint tactic, preferring to give his former teammate Cavendish all the credit for beating him on the day.
"Nothing happened," he said of the fight for position in the sprint.
"Only one guy from Arkéa-Samsic passed me close to the barrier and then there’s nothing to do at that moment. It’s just brake a little bit, don’t crash. Nothing happened. It’s cycling.”
"Well, not really brake... When the guy from Arkéa passed me close to the barrier. I didn't lose because of that – Cavendish passed me faster and that’s the truth."
Gaviria, who once again heaped praise on Richeze and his team for their work in the lead out and during the stage, said that he knew Cavendish was in good condition after the events on Thursday's opening stage, where the Briton finished fast but was too late to pass him.
"It’s nice to have the old Cav in the peloton," he said, referring more to Cavendish’s return to his best form than his age.
"Because having one guy like him in the group is really important. It’s most important when you win and then I’m really happy about that.
"Cav is in good shape now because I saw yesterday on the climb he moved good and also today he did a really good sprint."
With the first two sprint stages in the books, attention will now turn to the GC men ahead of Saturday's uphill finish at Qurayyat and then the queen stage atop Green Mountain.
For Gaviria and UAE Team Emirates, that means that the weekend's work will be done on behalf of Rui Costa, with the former world champion set to do battle against the likes of Fausto Masnada (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), and Elie Gesbert (Arkéa-Samsic).
"We have the GC now. We'll see what happens tomorrow with Rui. And then after that take the decision [on what we do]," Gaviria said.
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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.