[QODLink]
Cycling

Froome seals Tour of Oman win

British cyclist Chris Froome starts his season strongly beating all major Tour de France contenders to clinch title.
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2013 14:33
The Team Sky rider, centre, secured a 27-second win over two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador, left, in the six-stage race, with Cadel Evans, right, finishing third [AFP]

Tour de France runner-up Christopher Froome won the Tour of Oman Saturday, holding off Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans to claim his first stage-race victory.

Froome, a Team Sky rider who grabbed the lead after the fourth stage, crossed the Matrah Corniche in Muscat as part of the peloton to safely protect his 27-second lead of Contador, the two-time Tour de France winner who rides for Team Saxo.

Evans, who won the Tour de France in 2011, was a further 12 seconds back in third.

"It wasn't just a straight forward finish, it had a little bit of a climb on the final circuit which made it a test right down to the last couple of kilometres,'' Froome said.

Tough battle

Team Saxo Sporting Director Lars Michaelsen said Froome deserved the win after holding off Contador's challenge.

"An overall second place is not exactly a dream position but that's often the feeling when you're so close to the top spot,'' Michaelsen said.

"However, we did what we could to get the win and Alberto fought hard and gave everyone a spectacular race. But Froome demonstrated more than once that's he can keep coming back after several fierce moves from Alberto and we respect that.''

French national champion Nacer Bouhanni won the 144-kilometre sixth stage, which started in Hawit Nagam Park southeast of the capital, in 3 hours, 24 minutes, 20 seconds.

He sprinted to victory ahead of Matthew Goss of Orica GreenEdge and Taylor Phinney of BMC Racing.

With 25 kilometres to go, a trio of riders led by Katusha's Gatis Smukulis had more than a minute's lead ahead of a pack of about 80 riders. The trio was caught on the final circuit on the Matrah Corniche, with the remaining riders bunched all the way to the final stretch.

322

Source:
AP
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.

Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.