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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

OCA League 2023-24 begins today

League action to start with a team time trial in Al Sawadi
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MUSCAT: The Oman Cycling Association (OCA) League 2023-24 begins with a 48 km team time trial (TTT) race in Al Sawadi on Friday.


Nearly 100 cyclists from fifteen teams will compete for the top honours in three categories for the season-long league.


The Open category winner’s red jersey is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, while the 40 plus winner will get a green jersey by Oman Cycling Association and the under-23 winner’s white jersey is sponsored by Badr al Samaa.


The participating teams include defending champions CycleKOM Team, Bahla Club, Qurayat Club, Oman Club, Al Ittifaq Club, Musannah Club, Izki Club, Salalah Club, Sur Club, Royal Army of Oman, Capital Team, Brothers Team, Iron Bros Team, Wave Riders Team and Elevate Cycling Team.


The TTT race in Al Sawadi will include two laps and CycleKOM are favourites to win the opening race.


CycleKOM captain Paul Willcox is confident of claiming the TTT title for a fourth consecutive time.



“CycleKOM are looking forward to defending the Team General Classification this season. We will also try to go one better than the last season when I finished as a close runner-up for the red jersey,” the United Kingdom cyclist told Oman Daily Observer.


Young UK rider Bradley Perkins, one of the top-performing team members, is not in the team this year.


“Although we lost a strong team member in Bradley Perkins this year, we have a great General Category contender as replacement in Mohammed al Wahibi, who is an experienced and strong Oman national team rider,” Willcox said.


“As always the season kicks off with the Team Time Trial, and as a team of strong time trialists and past three years winners, we are strong favourites to win this stage for the fourth consecutive time on Friday,” the veteran cyclist added.



SEVEN RACES


In the 2022-23 OCA League, Oman Royal Army’s Said al Rahbi edged CycleKOM’s Willcox by 20 points to emerge overall champion.


After the six-race League, Al Rahbi earned 480 points to top the podium, while Willcox claimed runner-up spot with 460 points. Former winner Mundher al Hasani finished third with 440 points.


The OCA League 2023-24 season will include seven races, according to the schedule announced by the organisers.


After the opening race, the second one will be a road race at Airport loop for 98 km on October 27. The third race returns to Al Sawadi for a road race for 110 km on November 10.


Qurayat will stage a 116 km road race on December 8. Race 5 will be an individual time trial for 24 km at Wadi Al Abyadh on January 5, 2024.


Race 6 is a 96 km road race at Wakan on February 2, 2024. The OCA League will conclude with a road race at Knowledge Oasis on March 8, 2024.


Badr Al Samaa Group of Hospitals and Polyclinics are the main sponsors of the OCA League.


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