As the ninth edition of the Tour of Oman gets flagged off today, the mood among the organisers and riders alike remains optimistic about the successful conduct of the event. ““We look forward to it as a great race. The participation is amazing, the route has been designed very spectacularly in terms of landscape, yes it looks good,’’ Yann Le Moenner, chief executive officer, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), said. ASO are organisers of the Tour of Oman in conjunction with Muscat Municipality. Le Moenner was pleased with the growth of the Tour of Oman over the last eight editions and highlighted on the major factors.
“It is more and more interesting now. The riders’ participation is increasing every year and the next step is to get involved closer with the Muscat Municipality and also to start grassroot operations in schools,’’ he added. The Frenchman also stressed upon the opening of some riding arenas in Muscat. “It will be an initiative that the Muscat Municipality will be looking at, opening exclusive riding arenas so that they can ride safely,’’ he added. Le Moenner stated the quality of the event could be gauged from the profile of riders participating in the event. “We have got great riders like Vincenzo Nibali, Mark Cavendish and the fact that they want to start their season from Oman is a very good sign about the quality of the event,’’ he explained.
Asked if he expects any records to be broken at the cycling extravaganza, Le Moenner said one has to wait and watch. Le Moenner said the Muscat Municipality was keen to promote cycling. “They (MM) are very active in this partnership and are looking at ways for the event to grow. They want cycling to become a lifestyle. They have a vision of introducing cycling in the city,’’ he added. Talking about the profile of the Tour of Oman in the Middle East, Le Moenner said it’s right at the top. “It is definitely a signature event in the Middle East, the landscape of Oman makes it very unique,’’ Le Moenner concluded.