eigh Howard traded the white best young rider jersey for the red leader’s jersey on Wednesday following stage two of the Tour of Oman. Second on the first stage to André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) and on the second stage to Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Howard snagged enough bonus seconds to move into the overall lead. Howard enjoys a 2” cushion over Kristoff, Greipel and Preben van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen) heading into stage three and leads three of the four classifications (overall, young rider, points).
The race began with the customary early escape. Van Hecke, Paolo Colonna (Bardiani CSF) and Aldo Ino Ilesic (Unitedhealthcare) slipped up the road as soon as the official start had been given. Sébastian Hinault (IAM Cycling) attempted to bridge across to the trio but found himself stuck in no man’s land for nearly an hour before rejoining the peloton.
With Greipel in the red jersey following the opening stage, Lotto Belisol assumed responsibility for the chase. The peloton overtook the breakaway inside the final ten kilometres as the sprint trains began to take shape.
Although Howard enjoyed full support from his teammates in the build-up to the sprint, he lost his lead-out in the hectic final kilometre. Howard started his sprint from a less than ideal position and managed to overtake all but Kristoff in the run in towards the line.