© ASO / Thomas Maheux

Tour of Oman: Jesus Herada (Cofidis) takes command

While the Tour of Oman will deliver its final verdict this Wednesday at Jabal Al Akhdhal, at the end of the 5th stage, this 12th edition of the race has offered two first stages that have been rich in lessons. In a majestic setting, Tim Merlier took his first win for 2023 in Muscat after a first stage perfectly mastered by his new team Soudal – Quick Step. The double Belgian champion made his power speak in the final straight to take the only stage, on paper at least, made for sprinters. “It is of course special,” Merlier said. “It’s a victory for my son born ten days ago, for Cameron, my partner, who had her birthday yesterday.”
He was ahead of David Dekker (Team Arkéa-Samsic) and Axel Zingle, the young rider from Cofidis. Cofidis also distinguished itself the next day in the first finish designed for punchers in Quryyat. In the final climb to Qurayyat (2.5 km at 7.3%), Jesus Herrada was the fastest of a group of 50 riders to win ahead of Maxime Van Gils (Lotto Dstny) and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates).
The 32-year-old rider posted the 19th victory of his career, the first this season, and took the lead in the general classification with 4 seconds ahead of Van Gils and 6 over Ulissi.
“I feel very good, I am very happy with this victory,” he explained. “We have a team in good shape here at the Tour of Oman. The final today was good for me, and the team did a great job. In the end, I gave everything to get this victory, for me and for the team. We achieved our first objective with a stage victory. We’re going to go day by day now and defend the overall lead for as long as possible.”

Stages won by: Tim Merlier (Soudal – Quick Step); Jesus Herada (Cofidis).


Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia: Ben Turner takes his first victory in style

A big first for Ben Turner. The Briton from INEOS Grenadiers took the first victory of his professional career on Saturday, February 11, by winning the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia. In a difficult and tortuous final, the 23-year-old rider won the Spanish classic by dominating Simon Clarke (Israel – Premier Tech) and Jordi Meeus (BORA – Hansgrohe) in the sprint from a small group. Frenchman Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) finished just off the podium. “My teammates did an excellent job,” said Turner, who took 11th place in Paris-Roubaix last year. “I do not know what to say. Without them, I wouldn’t have even come close to winning. In the end, I didn’t want to be tricked. After the reconnaissance, I knew I had to be in front and start my sprint as soon as possible. I hope it will not be the last victory of my career. It’s good to have a victory in February. Let’s see what the rest of the season will bring me.”

This is the third victory of the season for the British team after Luke Plapp became Australian Champion and Tao Geoghegan Hart’s stage victory at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

Final classification: 1. Ben Turner (INEOS Grenadiers) ; 2. Simon Clarke (Israël – Premier Tech) ; 3. Jordi Meeus (BORA – Hansgrohe)…


Upcoming races:

Until 15/02: Tour of Oman, https://www.tour-of-oman.com/fr 

15 to 19/02: Vuelta a Andalucia Route Ciclista del Sol, https://vueltaandalucia.es/ 

02/16 to 19: Setmana Ciclista – Volta Comunitat Valenciana Femines, https://ccescapada.com/setmana-ciclista-valenciana 

17 to 19/02: Tour of the Alpes Maritimes and the Var, https://www.nicematin.com/cyclisme/tour-des-alpes-maritimes-et-du-var/ 

19 to 26/02: Tour of Rwanda, http://www.tourdurwanda.rw/