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Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) won stage 4 of the Tour of Oman Thursday at Jabal Al Akhdhar. The fourth leg of the six-day tour, which finished on the Green Mountain climb, closed with a showdown between some of the top grand tour riders in the sport.
Rodríguez’s win came on the eve of the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s ruling on his Katusha squad’s ProTeam license appeal.
“I was hoping to have a good day but I didn’t honestly expect to win,” said Rodríguez. “I gave it everything because this team deserves some success and they did everything they could to help me.”
Sky’s 2012 Tour de France runner-up, Chris Froome, was second and assumed the overall lead with two stages remaining.
“I owe the red jersey to the team today, they were fantastic,” said Froome. “With riders like Bradley Wiggins who helped position me into the climb, riders like Ritchie Porte, who helped me on the slope, just to control the breakaway, it’s a complete team effort today, it had to pay off.
“It was very tactical between [Alberto] Contador, [Vincenzo] Nibali, and Rodríguez, with a few accelerations, each time leaving me behind a bit… I thought, ‘I’d better get moving,’ and I made a move and just tried to stay clear.”
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), winner of the 2011 Tour, finished third, with Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), winner of the Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, and Tour, fourth. 2011 Vuelta winner Vincenzo Nibali (Cannondale) was fifth.
Overnight leader Peter Sagan (Cannondale) lost contact with the front of the race and ceded the leader’s red jersey.
Evans is now second overall, 24 seconds adrift of Froome in the GC, with Contador third, at 25 seconds.
The Tour of Oman continues Friday with the 144km fifth stage from Al Alam Palace to the Ministry of Housing in Boshar. The stage features three ascents of the short Bousher Alamrat climb — twice from the southeast and once from the northwest.