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Chris Froome of Britain won the fifth stage of the Tour of Oman cycle race on Friday to retain the overall leader's red jersey.
At the end of the 144 kilometre stage from from Al Alam Palace in Muscat to Boshar, Sky team rider Froome crossed the line half a wheel's length ahead of Spain's Alberto Contador, with another Spaniard, Joaquim Rodriguez, who won Thursday's fourth stage, a close third.
In the overall standings, with one stage to go, Froome is 27 seconds ahead of Contador and 39 seconds clear of Australia's Caddel Evans, who drops back to third.
The race ends on Saturday with the sixth and final stage, another 144km ride, from Hawit Nagam park in the south of the emirate, and finishes in Muscat along the Matrah corniche.