Muscat, Jan 21 – The ninth edition of the Tour of Oman gets underway from February 13th to 18th and the race is expected to get tougher and more attractive. The star attraction in the 2018 edition of the annual cycling race will be Italian Vincenzo Nibali, who is expected to make an appearance after his victory in the 2016 Tour of Oman. Few more top cyclists are also in the fray and they will be joining the peloton to make the race a really tough one. Salim bin Mubarak al Hasani, the race director, feels it will be a very interesting race this year.
“I think it will be a good race, and overall it will be good for Oman in terms of the sport and the coverage for the country,’’ he added. “There will be teams from UAE and Bahrain although there are no riders from Oman yet. But it will be a good event is what I feel,’’ he added. There will be 18 teams in the event with a total of 144 riders cycling their way through six excruciatingly difficult stages. The first stage will be from Nizwa to Sultan Qaboos University, a distance of 162.5km, that will test the sprinting skills of the fast riders as they move quickly on the peloton.
The second stage will be hosted by the SQU and will be the route for aggressive punchers to pull their way through 167.5km. German University of Technology will be the starting point for the third stage that will go all the way to Wadi Dayqah over 179.5km. This is what the Amoury Sport Organisation (ASO), co-organisers with Muscat Municipality, statement says about the last four stages:
“179.5km later, an 800m climb with a gradient close to 10 per cent will separate the wheat from the chaff on Wadi Dayqah Dam. A great chance for revenge after the previous stage. At 117km, the fourth stage will be short but far from easy. The course between Yiti and the Ministry of Tourism will test the riders’ speed and stamina on the triple climb up Al Jabal Street (3.4km at 8.8 per cent) before the finish.
“February 17 will feature the queen stage of the Tour of Oman for the eighth year running. The peloton will roll out of Samayil with the fearsome Green Mountain looming on the horizon. The suffering will only end after a 5.7-km climb at a gradient of 10.5 per cent. Finally, the riders will leave Almouj Muscat for Muttrah Corniche for a high-speed finale on February 18.”