Team Sky's Chris Froome gained more time as the leader in the Tour Of Oman with a thriling victory in the fifth stage.
With two stage winner Peter Sagan forced to withdraw due to a throat infection, the fifth stage was from Al Alam Palace to the Ministry of Housing in Boshar and was 143.5kms long and was one of two sprints and two King Of The Mountains climbs.
As racing got underway, a five man break was soon dealt with before Omega Pharma Quick Step's Denek Stybar went off in front with two groups behind him some 28 seconds back.
Race leader Chris Froom in his Red Jersey was in the front group before Trentin, Van Avermaet, Irizar, Hernandez Blazquez, Grivko, Schillinger, Minard and Kuchynski riding for a Katusha team that will now be given World Tour status after successfully appealing over their relegation.
Their gap went out to 2.45 meaning that Stybar was the leader on the road and he took the three seconds on offer at the first sprint after sixty kilometres.
Another minute was added by the time the escapers reached the first climb of the day at Bousher Alamaret. Stybar had to settle for second after being beaten to the summit by Hernandez.
Team Sky took to the front of the first group of 25 riders, chasing the nine escapers and immediately brought down the gap to 1.50.
Hernandez won the second sprint before the breakway was caught with 28kms to go and a group of around thirty riders were in front for the descent.
Tony Gallopin who was second in the General Classification to Chris Froome was dropped from this group as was Cancellara, Wiggins and Gilbert.
Enter Alberto Contador who splintered the lead group with a blistering attack which shred the likes of Froome and former Tour De France winner Cadel Evans. he built up a seventeen lead but with 12.5kms to go, a super effort from Chris Froome saw him caught.
Contador, Froome and Rodriguez attacked again and this time they were not going to be caught. Contador had a look but there was no stopping Chris Froome who surged past him to take the win.
Rodriguez was third, followed by Impey, Stybar, Nocentini, Tschoop, . Evans, Hernandez and Pozzovivo.
Jerseys after stage five: Froome (SKY) - red leader, green points, Ellisonde (FDJ) - white young rider, Traksel (CSS) - aggressive
Froome later tweeted; "I'm glad to be able to get the win after all the hard work from the rest of the team here in Oman."