Muscat, Feb 10 – The annual international cycling event, Tour of Oman, will take place between February 16 and 21 as part of Muscat Festival 2019. All roads to be used by cyclists have been marked with yellow and black signage with directions for participants. According to the organisers, the country welcomes the elite of world cycling for the 10th edition of the Tour of Oman. Traditionally, the climb up the Jabal al Akhdhar (Green Mountain) will prove to be decisive in the fight for the title. It should be an ideal playing ground for climbers like Domenico Pozzovivo or Mathias Frank, said a statement from Tour of Oman.
The Tour of Oman, appreciated for its alternation between flat and hilly finishes, will put the cream of the sprinting clan in the spotlight from the first stage on Suhar sea road, and without doubt, at the end of the race on Muttrah sea road. These seaside finishes should give rise to tough clashes between Nacer Bouhanni, André Greipel, Bryan Coquard and Sonny Colbrelli. However, riders will have to display a different type of power on the undulating routes leading to Al Bustan (stage 2) and Qurayat (stage 3).
Alexander Kristoff, who boasts the most stage wins in Oman with eight victories in nine participations, will be one of the men to watch, as will Greg van Avermaet, who will be looking to improve his roll of honour in preparation for his campaign in Flanders, Belgium. Nonetheless, the two favourites could be left in the wake of Gasparotto, Magnus Cort-Nielsen or, should the race take a slightly different turn, Niki Terpstra, Oliver Naesen or Nathan Haas. Jabal Al Akhdar is likely to be crucial in the battle for the title, the day before the race comes to its conclusion.
The 5.7-km climb will be the steepest of the week and could be used as a springboard to triumph by climbers such as Domenico Pozzovivo, Mathias Frank or Jesus Herrada. However, the winning ticket might also go to title-holder Alexey Lutsenko if, like in last year’s success, he contents himself with keeping with the pace on this climber’s test. Cyclists from Bahrain, Belgium, France, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the UAE and the US are taking part.