Tour of Oman 2014: stage five – five observations

Froome, Team Sky, Preben Van Hecke, fixture congestion...and July

Van Hecke of an effort

Preben Van Hecke. If the name wasn’t familiar to you before the 2014 Tour of Oman, the Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise rider’s name has become synonymous with this  year’s final desert race. The 31-year-old has spent a career with middling teams, riding well in middling races, but given a shot at the big time (and given the quality of the field, this year’s Tour of Oman must be regarded as such) he has seized the opportunity with both hands.

Preben Van Hecke, pictured at last year’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege. has left his mark on the 2014 Tour of Oman pic: ©Stefano Sirotti

The perennial attacker, frequently granted the licence of escape because of his lack of threat to those who will contest overall victory, is a pleasing feature of any race, and Van Hecke has picked up in Oman where Lieuwe Westra (Astana) left off in Qatar. Will Clarke (Drapac) was similarly incorrigible in Adelaide. The jersey for most aggressive rider is perhaps the hardest earned of any. Van Hecke, at 31 unlikely to enjoy many more days in the sun, has shone in the desert.

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