Luke Lamperti moves into the leader’s jersey with two days to go.
The young wolves aren’t lacking any confidence or opportunities to show themselves in their debut season with the squad. Most recent example came in Oman, where Paul Magnier and Luke Lamperti combined for another devastating sprint display, just like they did a couple of weeks ago at the Challenge Mallorca’s Trofeo Ses Salines-Felanitx – their first race in the Soudal Quick-Step jersey.
Stage three was initially set to head to Eastern Mountain, but was changed by the organisers because of the exceptional weather conditions, which meant that instead of having the riders tackle what would have been the first summit finish of this edition, it took them from Naseem Garden to Al Bustan, over just 76 kilometers, which made it the shortest stage in the history of the race.
The route was flat except for the final 500 meters, when the road began going up bringing into contention also some puncheurs and even GC men, who mixed it up with the sprinters. The Soudal Quick-Step duo of Paul Magnier and Luke Lamperti gave them no chance however, dominating the finale. The former was supposed to launch his American teammate, but his high-speed lead-out once he hit the front with 200 meters to go was so powerful that he ended up crossing the line ahead of Lamperti, nabbing his second victory in the space of two weeks.
“It’s unbelievable to take another win. The plan was to lead out Luke, but it turned out differently. I went really deep on the climb, full gas until the finish, and it’s nice now to celebrate a victory with the team, something which we deserved after coming so close the last couple of days. We won’t stop here, as we are still motivated to go for some nice results before the end of the race”, said Paul, the first rider in the pro peloton to make it two wins this year before turning 20.
There were more reasons to celebrate for the team, as Luke became the new leader of the general classification thanks to the six bonus seconds he took on the line. The 21-year-old also tops the points and youth standings, a remarkable feat in what’s his first stage race with the team.
“We came here for a victory, and we are delighted we got it. Paul was very strong and he won today, I came second, and we are happy with the great job of the team. The two of us have a special connection, we came from the same devo team, and to be successful in the pro ranks immediately it’s nice. I am confident you will see us a lot in the future”, added Luke. “I am happy to have the red jersey on my shoulders, it’s a beautiful feeling to lead a stage race. We’ll see what happens with things here and with the weather, but we are determined to do our best.”
Photo credit: ©A.S.O. / Thomas Maheux
©A.S.O. / Oman Cycling Association / Pauline Ballet