US veteran Danny Pate, 35, just missed out on his first result for Team Sky on Sunday when he finished fourth on the final day of the Tour of Oman. Pate infiltrated a four-man breakaway that stayed away to the finish before battling for the stage win.
IAM Cycling's Matthias Brändle won the day after attacking in the final kilometres, gaining a four-second advantage over Iljo Keisse (Etixx-QuickStep), followed by Jef van Meirhaeghe (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Pate.
The peloton finished 1:06 later, led home by Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo). Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida) finished safely in the bunch to win the overall by a nine seconds over Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing).
Pate’s group went on the attack just 8.5km into the 133km stage from Oman Air to the Matrah Corniche. The quartet's gap ballooned to more than nine minutes, and with no-one a threat on the general classification, Lampre-Merida was content to let them ride. Tinkoff-Saxo and Katusha eventually mounted a chase, but it proved too little too late.
“We had planned to go on the attack today and Danny rode a really strong race,” said Team Sky Sports Director Nicolas Portal. “He launched an attack on the last climb to try and distance the others, but they caught him on the descent which followed and he didn’t have anything left in the tank when Brändle made his move.
Portal said the team had put in a good work during the week, which will pay off in future races.
“Wout [Poels] finished 15th on GC and our domestiques have been really strong,” he said. “Everything’s looking good and we’re where we need to be at this stage in the season.”