Coquard wins stage 1 of the Tour of Oman

Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept) delivered a fine sprint to win stage 1 of the Tour of Oman in a bunch finish ahead of Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) at Sultan Qaboos University.

"I'm very happy to win in Oman, because it's my first big race of the season," Coquard said. "It's a new team, a new project and my first win - the second win of the team for the season. It's very good, I'm very happy."

Coquard has endured a trying 2018 since switching from Direct Energie to Jerome Pineau's start-up squad during the off-season. Before the Frenchman had even turned a pedal in anger in his new colours, he learned that Vital Concept had been overlooked for wildcard invitations to the Tour de France and Paris-Nice, and he then fell maddeningly short of victory during his first two outings at the Sharjah Tour and Etoile de Bessèges.

On the eve of the Tour of Oman, however, Coquard was bullish about his prospects and the quality of his teammates, and such optimism seemed justified on the evidence of stage 1. Ably assisted by a lead-out train where Kris Boeckmans and Kevin Reza featured prominently, Coquard made no mistake in the finishing straight, out-pacing Cavendish, Nizzolo and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) to claim his first win of the year and the second of Vital Concept's short existence to date.

Timing was of the essence in the finishing straight, where the fast men had to battle into a headwind, and Coquard chose his moment well to emerge a clear winner ahead of Cavendish and Nizzolo.

"It was a very good lead-out. We have a lot of good riders for the lead-out and for the sprint in Oman. It's very good. I don't know, with maybe 3km, my team was on the front, and after it was a very good sprint," Coquard said.

Nizzolo admitted that he mis-timed his effort after his team also put in a good deal of work in the final kilometers. “The team worked hard for me and brought me in perfect position with 1.2km to go, where I found a good wheel to go to the finish. I started my sprint maybe a little too early with the headwind,” the Trek-Segafredo rider said.

After a carnival of sprinting at last week's Dubai Tour, the Tour of Oman offers more rugged terrain in the days ahead, but there was still a strong complement of sprinters on hand here, with Adam Blythe (6th), Alexander Kristoff (7th) and Magnus Cort (9th) all battling to make an impact in a fiercely-contested finale.

How it unfolded

The flat opening leg of the Tour of Oman always lent itself to the fast men, and competition to enter the day's early break was not as ferocious as one might expect later in the week. The irrepressible Conor Dunne (Aqua Blue Sport), however, was willing to tilt against the windmill, and he went on the offensive almost as soon as the flag dropped, and was joined by Maxime Farazijn (Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise), Pierre Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Samsic) and Brian van Goethem (Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij) off the front of the race.

The peloton was happy to let this quartet go clear, and Dunne, Farazijn, Perichon and Van Goethem quickly established an advantage of 4:30 over the bunch by the time they reached the 15km mark.

At that point, Bouhanni's Cofidis team and the Sunweb squad of Max Walscheid massed on the front and set about keeping acceptable limits on the dimension of the break's early buffer. By the time Perichon led the break through the sprint after 30km, the gap was down to 3:30, and it stood firm at around that mark for the next two hours or so of racing.

With 50km to go, the sprinters' teams began to wind up the pace in the main peloton, and the advantage accrued by Dunne, Farazijn, Perichon and Van Goethem began to dissolve accordingly. Perichon claimed the second intermediate sprint with 30km remaining but by that point, the gap was barely a minute.

It dropped ineluctably on the run-in, and 11km from Perichon was the first of the escapees to resign himself to the inevitable, sitting up and dropping back into the peloton. Dunne, Farazijn and Van Goethem lasted a little longer, but they too were reeled in with 8 kilometres remaining.

From there, a bunch sprint was inevitable. Cofidis, Sunweb, Quick-Step Floors and Dimension Data were all prominent in the breathless closing kilometres, but victory – and the leader's red jersey – fell to Bryan Coquard.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept Club3:58:41
2Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension DataRow 1 - Cell 2
3Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 2 - Cell 2
4Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditRow 3 - Cell 2
5Maximilian Richard Walscheid (Ger) Team SunwebRow 4 - Cell 2
6Adam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue SportRow 5 - Cell 2
7Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team EmiratesRow 6 - Cell 2
8Bram Welten (Ned) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 7 - Cell 2
9Magnus Nielsen (Den) Astana Pro teamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Boris Vallee (Bel) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 9 - Cell 2
11Yannis Yssaad (Fra) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 10 - Cell 2
12Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 11 - Cell 2
13Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-AlpecinRow 12 - Cell 2
14Floris Gerts (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse LoterijRow 13 - Cell 2
15Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing TeamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Wouter Wippert (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse LoterijRow 15 - Cell 2
17Kevin Deltombe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 16 - Cell 2
18Eric Young (USA) Rally CyclingRow 17 - Cell 2
19Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 18 - Cell 2
20Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-AlpecinRow 19 - Cell 2
21Borut Bozic (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 20 - Cell 2
22Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 21 - Cell 2
23Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step FloorsRow 22 - Cell 2
24Shane Archbold (NZl) Aqua Blue SportRow 23 - Cell 2
25Alberdi Ventoso (Spa) BMC Racing TeamRow 24 - Cell 2
26Simone Antonini (Ita) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 25 - Cell 2
27Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 26 - Cell 2
28Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 27 - Cell 2
29Scott Davies (GBr) Dimension DataRow 28 - Cell 2
30Davide Martinelli (Ita) Quick-Step FloorsRow 29 - Cell 2
31Andrew Fenn (GBr) Aqua Blue SportRow 30 - Cell 2
32Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) UAE Team EmiratesRow 31 - Cell 2
33Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 32 - Cell 2
34Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension DataRow 33 - Cell 2
35Justin Oien (USA) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 34 - Cell 2
36Natnael Berhane (Eri) Dimension DataRow 35 - Cell 2
37Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-AlpecinRow 36 - Cell 2
38Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Katusha-AlpecinRow 37 - Cell 2
39Elmar Reinders (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse LoterijRow 38 - Cell 2
40Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 39 - Cell 2
41Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 40 - Cell 2
42Nicholas Dlamini (RSA) Dimension DataRow 41 - Cell 2
43Brandon Mcnulty (USA) Rally CyclingRow 42 - Cell 2
44Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-SegafredoRow 43 - Cell 2
45Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro teamRow 44 - Cell 2
46Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing TeamRow 45 - Cell 2
47Jan Hirt (Cze) Astana Pro teamRow 46 - Cell 2
48Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 47 - Cell 2
49Fabien Doubey (Fra) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 48 - Cell 2
50Sjoerd Van Ginneken (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse LoterijRow 49 - Cell 2
51Manuele Boaro (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 50 - Cell 2
52Marco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 51 - Cell 2
53Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro teamRow 52 - Cell 2
54Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (Nor) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 53 - Cell 2
55Jacques Willem Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension DataRow 54 - Cell 2
56Mcnally Mark (GBr) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 55 - Cell 2
57Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditRow 56 - Cell 2
58Edward Theuns (Bel) Team SunwebRow 57 - Cell 2
59Aime De Gendt (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 58 - Cell 2
60Maxime Farazijn (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 59 - Cell 2
61Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-SegafredoRow 60 - Cell 2
62Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro teamRow 61 - Cell 2
63Matarranz Fraile (Spa) Astana Pro teamRow 62 - Cell 2
64Pim Ligthart (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse LoterijRow 63 - Cell 2
65Tim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 64 - Cell 2
66Wesley Kreder (Ned) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 65 - Cell 2
67Danny Pate (USA) Rally CyclingRow 66 - Cell 2
68Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Bahrain-MeridaRow 67 - Cell 2
69Benjamin Declercq (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 68 - Cell 2
70Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-SegafredoRow 69 - Cell 2
71Nicolas Dougall (RSA) Dimension DataRow 70 - Cell 2
72Steff Cras (Bel) Katusha-AlpecinRow 71 - Cell 2
73Jordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 72 - Cell 2
74Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 73 - Cell 2
75Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 74 - Cell 2
76Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditRow 75 - Cell 2
77Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 76 - Cell 2
78Eros Capecchi (Ita) Quick-Step FloorsRow 77 - Cell 2
79Alberto Bettiol (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 78 - Cell 2
80Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step FloorsRow 79 - Cell 2
81Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 80 - Cell 2
82Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditRow 81 - Cell 2
83Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 82 - Cell 2
84Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 83 - Cell 2
85Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step FloorsRow 84 - Cell 2
86Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse LoterijRow 85 - Cell 2
87Nicolas Edet (Fra)Cofidis, Solutions CreditRow 86 - Cell 2
88Daniel Pearson (GBr) Aqua Blue SportRow 87 - Cell 2
89Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 88 - Cell 2
90Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-MeridaRow 89 - Cell 2
91Michael Carbel Svendgaard (Den) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 90 - Cell 2
92Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) UAE Team EmiratesRow 91 - Cell 2
93Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 92 - Cell 2
94Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 93 - Cell 2
95Mark Christian (GBr) Aqua Blue SportRow 94 - Cell 2
96Danilo Celano (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 95 - Cell 2
97Maxime Daniel (Fra) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 96 - Cell 2
98Nicola Conci (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 97 - Cell 2
99Casper Pedersen (Den) Aqua Blue SportRow 98 - Cell 2
100Brian Van Goethem (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse LoterijRow 99 - Cell 2
101Jon Irisarri Rincon (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 100 - Cell 2
102Ian Boswell (USA) Katusha-AlpecinRow 101 - Cell 2
103Kristijan Ðurasek (Cro) UAE Team EmiratesRow 102 - Cell 2
104Conor Dunne (Irl) Aqua Blue SportRow 103 - Cell 2
105Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:00:14
106Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Vital Concept Club0:00:17
107Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vital Concept ClubRow 106 - Cell 2
108Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb0:00:21
109Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team SunwebRow 108 - Cell 2
110Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:00:23
111Johannes Fröhlinger 9Ger) Team Sunweb0:00:26
112Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team SunwebRow 111 - Cell 2
113Kevin Reza (Fra) Vital Concept Club0:00:30
114Tyler Magner (USA) Rally Cycling0:00:37
115Florian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic0:00:54
116Johan Le Bon (Fra) Vital Concept Club0:00:57
117Julien Morice (Fra) Vital Concept ClubRow 116 - Cell 2
118Loic Chetout (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credit0:00:59
119Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditRow 118 - Cell 2
120Bert De Backer (Bel) Vital Concept Club0:01:05
121Fabricio Ferrari Barcelo (Uru) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:01:09
122Charles Bradley Huff (USA) Rally Cycling0:01:31
123Adam De Vos (Can) Rally Cycling0:01:48
124Artijn Tusveld (Ned) Team Sunweb0:01:55
125Nikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana Pro teamRow 124 - Cell 2
126Robin Carpenter (USA) Rally Cycling0:03:04
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Sprint 1, Izki - km 31
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic3pts
2Maxime Farazijn (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Conor Dunne (Irl) Aqua Blue Sport1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Sprint 2, Fanja - km 136
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic3pts
2Brian Van Goethem (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Conor Dunne (Irl) Aqua Blue Sport1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Points - Finish
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept Club15pts
2Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data12Row 1 - Cell 3
3Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo9Row 2 - Cell 3
4Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credit7Row 3 - Cell 3
5Maximilian Richard Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb6Row 4 - Cell 3
6Adam Blythe (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport5Row 5 - Cell 3
7Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates4Row 6 - Cell 3
8Bram Welten (Ned) Fortuneo-Samsic3Row 7 - Cell 3
9Magnus Nielsen (Den) Astana Pro team2Row 8 - Cell 3
10Boris Vallee (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert1Row 9 - Cell 3
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Young riders
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1 Row 0 - Cell 2
1Maximilian Richard Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb3:58:41
2Bram Welten (Ned) Fortuneo-SamsicRow 2 - Cell 2
3Magnus Nielsen (Den) Astana Pro teamRow 3 - Cell 2
4Boris Vallee (Bel) Wanty-Groupe GobertRow 4 - Cell 2
5Yannis Yssaad (Fra) Caja Rural-Seguros RGARow 5 - Cell 2
6Kevin Deltombe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 6 - Cell 2
7Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 7 - Cell 2
8Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-BaloiseRow 8 - Cell 2
9Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step FloorsRow 9 - Cell 2
10Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 10 - Cell 2
11Scott Davies (GBr) Dimension DataRow 11 - Cell 2