sport

Froome defends Tour of Oman title

Chris Froome wrapped up his second straight Tour of Oman title after Andre Greipel had sealed a hat-trick of stage wins in the Sultanate.

With the concluding stage always destined to end in a sprint, Froome was kept out of trouble in the safety of the peloton, and cruised around the Matrah Corniche before the lead-out trains came to the fore.

It was Greipel's Lotto Belisol team that asserted their authority in the closing stages and the German proved imperious once again by producing one of his characteristic late kicks to edge out Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) and Sam Bennett (NetApp-Endura) at the line.

Froome rolled home in that sizeable front group which ensured he backed up his 2013 success with a 26-second advantage over Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing). Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) rounded out the podium a further five seconds adrift and Sergio Henao highlighted Team Sky's strength in depth by claiming seventh place in the overall standings.

"Everyone's spirits are really high after the race and it was clear to see we've all come here on the back of some good winter training," Froome told Team Sky's website.

"To get the overall victory was a nice reward for everyone, and winning the team classification was a brilliant bonus as well."

On his own form, Froome added: "I still feel like I've got a lot of work to do - a lot of room for improvement - but at this stage in the season, I'm where I need to be. This has been a really good experience for me as it's the start of my build-up to the Tour de France.

"I'll travel home to Monaco now and take a few days off before honing my condition again for Tirreno-Adriatico in two weeks' time."