Hermans wins Oman 2nd stage to take lead

Ben Hermans (Getty)
Ben Hermans (Getty)

AL-Bustan - Belgian Ben Hermans is the new leader of the Tour of Oman after winning Wednesday's 145km second stage.

The 30-year-old surprised a group of stage favourites with a late attack on a steep climb to the finish in Al Bustan, with Portugal's Rui Costa second and Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark third.

Hermans was supposed to be helping his BMC team leader and compatriot Greg Van Avermaet, the Olympic champion, but jumped on his opportunity to claim victory.

"Greg was supposed to contest the sprint finish whereas me, I had a free role, in particular marking Romain Bardet. I tried my luck at the best moment 150 metres from the line," said Hermans, who succeeded Norway's Alexander Kristoff, winner of Tuesday's opening stage, as race leader.

Van Abermaet finished ninth with Bardet, second behind Chris Froome at last year's Tour de France, 10th.

All the favourites for overall victory, including Italy's seventh-placed Fabio Aru, winner of the 2015 Vuelta a Espana, finished in the top 10.

Thursday's 162km third stage is a hilly run from Sultan Qaboos University to Quriyat.

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