Cape Town - Spanish climbing specialist Rafael Valls experienced the greatest
moment by far of his career in winning the Tour of Oman on Sunday as
Matthias Brandle of Austria clinched the sixth and final stage.
who seized control in winning the feature stage of the race, the climb
to the Green Mountain on Friday, had a nine-second advantage over
American Tejay van Garderen, while another Spaniard, the experienced
Alejandro Valverde, was third overall, 19 seconds adrift.
Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali scraped into the top 20, more than three minutes off the pace.
27-year-old Valls it ended several years of angst and self-doubt over
whether he would ever prove himself at the highest level.
have been three dream days, and this is the apotheosis," said Valls, who
was succeeding Britain's 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome, the
winner of the previous two editions of the race but who didn't compete
"It is a reward for the past four or five difficult years that I have experienced.
"I have proved to myself that I can ride at the level I had before.
"It gives me a lot of confidence," added Valls, whose only previous victory was a stage in the Tour of San Luis five years ago.
the stage itself, Brandle went clear of three other breakaway riders in
the final stretch along the Matrah corniche to finish four seconds
clear of Belgian Iljo Keisse with the latter's compatriot Jef Van
Meiraghe third, 13 seconds off the pace.
Saturday's fifth stage had been cancelled due to poor weather.