Muscat - Former Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali won Friday's fourth stage to take the race leader's red jersey of the Tour of Oman.
The Italian Astana rider claimed victory by nine seconds over Frenchman Romain Bardet in the 180km 'Green Mountain' stage from Knowledge Oasis Muscat to the climb of Jabal al-Akhdhar.
In the overall standings, Nibali has a 15 second lead on Bardet with two stages remaining.
The Italian, who also won on Jabal al-Akhdhar in 2012, said: "The first time was completely different because I attacked from the foot. Today I had to keep my nerve and wait until the end."
Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark, Nibali's team-mate, was third while previous race leader Edvald Boasson Hagen, the Norwegian, finished 10th, 1:10 behind the stage winner.
Saturday's penultimate fifth stage is a shorter 119.5km ride from Yiti to the Ministry of Tourism.
Results from the fourth stage of the Tour of Oman on Friday, over 180km from Knowledge Oasis Muscat to Jabal al Akhdhar (Green Mountain):
1. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST), 4hr 25min 48sec, 2. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 09sec, 3. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 12, 4. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) 18, 5. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) 38, 6. Merhawi Kudus (ERI/DDD) 43, 7. George Benett (AUS/LNL) 43, 8. Brendan Canty (AUS/DPC) 45, 9. Floris De Tier (BEL/TSV) 1min 08sec, 10. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/DDD) 1:10
12. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) at 1min 22sec, 24. Richie Porte (AUS/BMC) 2:57, 27. Dan Martin (IRL/ETI) 3:24
General Classification (after 4 of 6 stages):
1. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 16hr 18min 35sec, 2. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 15sec, 3. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 24, 4. Tom Dumoulin (NED/GIA) 40, 5. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) 54, 6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/DDD) 1min 16sec, 7. Brendan Canty (AUS/DPC) 1:31, 8. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 1:38, 9. Merhawi Kudus (ERI/DDD) 1:41, 10. Gianluca Brambilla (ITA/ETI) 1:59
28. Dan Martin (IRL/ETI) 6:31, 52. Richie Porte (AUS/BMC) 12:58