Andre Greipel (Arkea-Samsic) ended the Tour of Oman on the same note he started it: frustration. After a late puncture ruined his plans on the opening stage, he was prevented from sprinting on the Mattrah Corniche on the final day by what he felt was a dangerous sprint by the winner Giacomo Nizzolo (Dimension Data). There was some confusion, however, as Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) was caught up in the same incident and blamed Niccolo Bonifazio (Direct Energie).
Greipel finished 28th on the stage but felt he was lucky to stay on his bike. He went to the race jury to complain and ask them to review the footage of the sprint, but the result was upheld.
"Normally, in my opinion, he must be disqualified, because he went inside us, on the barrier, and you have Bouhanni and me, and we nearly crashed behind him," Greipel said of Nizzolo.
"I couldn't sprint after this. The team did a really good job today, I'm just disappointed that I couldn't sprint."
There was, however, some confusion over whether Nizzolo should have been the target of Greipel's anger, as the Italian didn't appear to dramatically change his line.
Bouhanni was also unhappy, but he felt Bonifazio was the guilty party.
"He totally screwed up my sprint," the Frenchman told L'Equipe. "I was in second place, I was going to open my sprint, and he hit my handlebars. If there were barriers I'd have gone right into them."
Asked if Greipel had definitely been complaining about Nizzolo, Arkea-Samsic directeur sportif Sébastien Hinault told Cyclingnews: "That's what he said to me.
"I haven't seen the replays but that's what he said. It was coming from the left, then it closed in front of him, he had to brake, and it was over. He was right on the limit of crashing. Luckily he didn't fall, but okay, it's disappointing."
Greipel therefore leaves Oman without a victory and without having even been able to perform a full sprint. The only other sprint opportunity came on stage 4 but there were a number of climbs in the second half of the parcours and he was dropped.
Despite winning a stage at the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in January, he felt that race was too chaotic, and Oman was supposed to be a chance for him and his new team to click into gear. Greipel's next appearance will come in Belgium next weekend at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
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