Haute Route 2020 SEASON opener returns to Oman

MUSCAT: Oman’s legendary hospitality and spectacular natural beauty will again take centre stage when Haute Route Oman returns from March 6-8, 2020. Oman’s magnificent Al Hajar mountain range will offer riders some of the most challenging climbs in the cycling world — notably the daunting ascent of the iconic Jabal Akhdhar, which tested and delighted those who took part in the first ever event early this year.
The three-day challenge will be 260 km with 5,500m+ of climbing and the focal point of stage 1 and 2 will be the formidable twin peaks of Jabal Akhdhar and Jebel Hatt, that rival iconic global climbs such as Mount Ventoux, Alpe d’Huez and Pesso Dello Stelvio.
For comparison the famed Col du Tourmalet — a highlight of the Tour de France — presents the world’s elite cyclist with a 19 km climb at an average gradient of 7.4 per cent, the ascent of Jabal Akhdhar, the ‘Green Mountain’, offers a gradient of 10.3 per cent with an elevation gain of 1,411m.
Stage 3 has been extended from the 2019 route and will now start in the ancient lost city of Tanuf whose evocative ruins will be the launchpad for a 30 km time-trial passing the Al Hoota Cave into Al Hamra before the climb to the finish in Misfat Al Abriyeen.
As ever Haute Route will deliver the full professional tour experience to an international peloton of enthusiastic amateur riders, with the event supported by the world-class organisational experience of Oman Sail. Though a new member of the Haute Route family in 2019, Oman has already earned its place on the bucket list of many riders.
Oman Sail CEO David Graham said: “We were absolutely delighted with the success of the first ever Haute Route Oman, and we received 5-star feedback from across the entire peloton.
“The brilliant support of the Royal Oman Police, the Royal Army and the local Al Dakhiliyah community allowed us to ensure the highest safety and service standards for the riders, and we welcome their continued support in 2020 where we aim to attract more international cyclists to experience the incredible cycling offerings of the Sultanate”
The first edition of Haute Route Oman attracted 262 riders from 27 countries, among them the 2009 F1 World Champion racing driver Jenson Button. Along with 56 per cent of the riders, it was the multiple Grand Prix winner’s first ever Haute Route.
“Haute Route Oman was a really good experience,” said Button. “I wasn’t sure what to expect before taking part and it was incredible. Riding in Oman exceeded all of my expectations — the climbs were some of the toughest I have ever done and the breathtaking scenery and hospitality of the local people have put Haute Route Oman at the very top of my favourite cycling experiences.”
Speaking about the event, Richard Chapman Founding member of the London-based Black Widow Cycling Club said, “The members of the Black Widows Cycling Club have been taking part in Haute Route events since the very beginning, and the inaugural Haute Route Oman earlier this year was a complete revelation. Oman is a beautiful country, the people are friendly and welcoming, and the cycling is fantastic with awesome climbs and amazing views — we will be back again in 2020.”
“As a leading Haute Route supporter since 2011, our riders can’t wait for the second edition of Haute Route Oman next March,” said Will Levy, from Australian tour operator Two Wheel Tours.
“Oman is one of the safest countries in the world. The great roads, friendly faces and magnificent landscapes make it an ideal Haute Route destination. We brought 19 riders to the 2019 event and everyone had an unforgettable time. We are all set for a repeat performance.”
The groundbreaking 2019 event was also notable for a field which was one-sixth female, the highest proportion of women riders in Haute Route history.
Haute Route Oman will again be centred on the ancient but thriving city of Nizwa, located in the heart of Oman’s mountainous interior.
Following Haute Route Oman riders, their friends and families can take the opportunity to further explore the Sultanate’s great natural beauty, which includes many miles of spectacular coastline, undulating dunes and freshwater wadis, and many historic, ancient and cultural sites.
With numerous direct flights from many major cities to Muscat, Oman’s capital, exclusive travel packages will also allow Haute Route Oman visitors to experience the hospitality and welcoming culture for which Oman is deservedly famed.